My Lai Again

Dawn stillness broken by the swish
Then chop, chop of the rotor blades

Alpha plus Bravo Company seals off
The Northern and Western boundaries

We flop down into the Western perimeter’s paddies
Low as rockets and tracer fire spurt from gun ships

Sure do have the shits up us for over
The past three months 7,000 have gone down

I cut their throats, cut off their hands,
Cut out their tongue, their hair, scalped them

Croaks Vernado Simpson at the investigators
Who charge a third of our unit

Twenty raped, sodomized, one by five different men
Half the girls under sixteen, the youngest ten

Genitals stabbed with bayonets,
A rifle fired into her vagina

The ace of spades or Charlie Company’s initials
Carved into their flesh

And by midday 500 elderly men, unarmed women
Children — lay dead

And our sole casualty —
Someone who shot himself in the foot