Dust-off at Sunrise

I hover above a hot LZ
with hueys and cobras
firing their rockets
and miniguns below me
I hover like a buzzard
waiting for the kill
I see images of tall elephant grass
ten or fifteen feet below
I see a hot LZ
and hear the door gunner
yelling “jump jump”
and me yelling back
“lower lower”
“too high too high”
I have images of jumping
off the huey firing
into the jungle
Running into the darkness
of the tree line
wondering what monster
might be waiting there
I follow a small trail
into the thickness stopping
at a narrow stream
flowing below a jagged cliff
of faded gray
I sit my gun down
and walk a short distance
when the sound of gunfire
and metal ricocheting
off granite
forces me to fire
my pistol into the darkness
above the cliff
Others fire
into the darkness
as I roll over to my gun
and fire a burst
into the emptiness
no need to make chase
the sniper is gone
We back off
return on the trail
a few hundred yards
and take five
I began to write
a letter to mother
A crack a yell
“man down”
The FO
(forward observer)
hit in the back
of the head
and rolls down
an embankment
He is unconscious
but alive
The bullet parts
his scalp
to the bone
The medic wraps
his wound
and we move to a spot
for a dust-off
at sunrise…

© 2006 Jim Cain