Startling Poetry: I’m Dreaming the My Lai Soldier Again

I’m Dreaming the My Lai Soldier Again by Anne Sexton

 

I’m dreaming the My Lai soldier again,

I’m dreaming the My Lai soldier night after night.

He rings the doorbell like the Fuller Brush Man

and wants to shake hands with me

and I do because it would be rude to say no

and I look at my hand and it is green

with intestines.

And they won’t come off,

they won’t. He apologizes for this over and over.

The My Laid soldier lifts me up again and again

and lowers me down with the other dead women and babies

saying, It’s my job. It’s my job.

 

Then he gives me a bullet to swallow

like a sleeping tablet.

I am lying in this bell of dead babies

each one belching up the yellow gases of death

and their mothers tumble, eyeballs, knees, upon me,

each for the last time, each authentically dead.

The soldier stands on a stepladder above us

pointing his red penis right at me and saying,

Don’t take this personally.

 

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