They bury him under a flag, on a cool autumn morning. His brother escorts her, supports her tenderly through the service. He is the one who flinches at the rifle salute. She closes her eyes and opens her heart and lets the staccato shots pass through her like a wind.
Only blanks. Not real bullets. Nothing like the barreling rounds that ripped his flesh and smashed in under his narrow ribs and nailed his life to the inside back of his flack jacket.
That slim silent figure in uniform. Laid out cold and still. Thats not him. Hes not here. He slipped out of his shell somewhere in the middle of a desert city under siege. Hes maybe still there, a little lost. A little uncertain where to go from here. He might linger where his brothers are still fighting. Screaming silent warning. Aching to fight beside them still, to prote