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Monday, April 15, 2013

NO. 2

by Sean J. Mahoney

Jose Gutierrez
You first surfaced 22 years ago, rising
From the concrete with much promise.
You are casualty number two,
From Camp Pendleton.

Perhaps you were the one who gave
Us directions to building 73A: down the road
A bit, past the cannon, turn right. We may
Have never met. You may never have asked
Me about the principals of electromagnetics
Though you wanted to know. You may
Have been jogging with your unit to song,
sweat turning your desert t-shirt
Into an apron of badges.

You could have been in one of the copters,
Practicing, too busy to see that we had located
The communications line the brass
Were so worried about. Maybe you were
In the mess when we opened up the sewers
To determine where all the shit went.

Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez -
You were combat casualty number two,
Killed in southern Iraq March 21, 2003,
Pieces of you will remain there.
The Republic of the Soil will erode
And wipe your thumb out over time,
Change the chemical properties,
And release your minerals.

I can imagine that as a tick feeding from you
While you had pulse and pause, I discerned
A lapse in your genetic rouge,
Chips in the clay of your latino
Beauty. And, knowing your end
Approached and no council could deter
That fact, I crept away and tucked into
Your wife’s folds. I would whisper
Into her skin the things I knew of you
As I fed: that you would have fathered
Two more, read Dianetics, won
16 grand in the lottery and lost most
Of it at the track. And that this
Would have come to pass once
You had broken your leg playing football
With the boys on a Saturday, Budweiser
Abounding. You would have slowed down,
Grown a bit around the middle,
Begun smoking cigars and paying
For manicures at the salon with
The wicked sexy Vietnamese lady.
I would issue into your wife anything
And everything about angels, guts
And glory of country for I am a bellcap
Of sorrow and brave people need
To stand up and tell the truth. But she
Does not hear that you will die soon,
And accidentally.

Jose Gutierrez - if I could have set
A 5-foot by 5-foot grid around you,
Marched up and down
The backfill of your life
With a conductivity meter
Through painted barrios and brush
Loaded with ticks I may have found
The locale your composition caved
And registered void.
Or, had I lit you up
With an 8 megahertz current,
I could have measured your growth
And your linear trend from
Your first surface expression
As breathing conduit to copper child
To weathered teenager to rusty
Soldier, to where your line vanished,
Ended suddenly
And without explanation.

That is what happens.
I could have told you where,
Not that it would have made
A difference. I still do not know

This is what happened.
Jose Gutierrez  - you first surfaced
22 years ago,
Rising from the concrete
With much promise.

Sean J. Mahoney lives with his wife, her parents, an Uglydoll, and three dogs in Santa Ana, CA. He works in geophysics after studying literature and poetry in school. His first published  piece appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of MiPOesias.