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By Theresa Wyatt

What sort of soldiers were they

wolfing baking soda – ripping heads

and tails off mackerel with no pause

animal like – by history’s telling

of the hunger

Who ransacked pregnant women’s

houses, soiled their flour and yeast,

blew out their barns and windows

for more excruciating clarity

Who left behind the flood

of amputation, red gullies on linens,

dumped limbs inside featherbed quilts

but not before taking the china

Mothers of war have told us what sort

of bootless men and boys they were:

Every lice infested starving soldier

is someone else’s son, they said

Someone else’s son hurled viciously

into other worlds barefoot,

war’s special Sundays

of cannonball choruses

crying voices

absorbed into the night sound

of crickets that won’t

let you sleep

THERESA WYATT is a retired educator and visual artist who has worked extensively in the art of narrative medicine, a growing genre that portrays the human encounter with illness through writing and art. She is the author of “Arrowheads Everywhere,” her first collection of poems published by Derby by the Lake Project. This poem is from her Gettysburg Series, also published by Derby by the Lake Project.