Stalled Convoy, 1942
by Richard Peake

Blood spurted as the chicken’s head
fell—clean cut made by the hatchet
left a bloody stump of the neck
stretching starkly from the body.
Whether the soldiers in the trucks
could see him slaughtering dinner
Guy couldn’t tell. He saw Sister
out at the stalled khaki convoy
chatting with scores of young soldiers
not many years her elders waiting
to embark for North Africa,
promising to send them letters
where they were ordained to battle
as they gave names and addresses.
They sat easy in army gear,
laughing boys deaf to death’s rattle.

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