Terry Savoie

Saturday's Soldiers

“fatigue’s currency…”
—Amy Gerstler

The girl in the forest tableaux unveils her
   chorus of plum-colored tattoos
that flutter away as impatiently as autumn leaves
    down her backside, her thighs & around to cradle her belly
& breasts that whinny like a pair of fawn-colored foals,
    frolicsome, in the small clearing of sweetgum trees.
She plants her feet firmly, pressing her back
    up against the tree’s bark, her back
blue-stamped with starry-eyed, honey-toned ponies,
   with imps & pygmies’ laps, with god-soured chroniclers
who’ve bivouacked in a forest’s clearing to pine there
    like Saturday’s soldiers who have marched out
ten kilometers before breakfast & all there’s left is one
    lousy pack of Lucky Strikes between them,
a fact not lost as they ponder how another ten
    kilometers separate them from noon.
Several headaches severely coalesce as a mean west wind
    whistles in & shivers the witches’ branches overhead,
holding out a dry but palpable warning to hurry up
   & finish this morning’s march at all costs before noon
sounds the Angelus bell ringing out from the monastery tower
   three towns beyond, before the sergeant sounds the mad retreat for home.