Ryan G. Van Cleave

Joseph Orrick, Thief and Deserter of 33 Reg. Va. Vol., Makes Off With Ezekial’s Rifle and Rations

They’re fair game. Any Jack Ass knows eatables

and rifles are like fish afloat. What with no

provision stores or jew shops around, people

just make do with or without kindly appeals.

In two weeks, all I ate was a skillet of ham

and some pickles. A wonder more don’t follow

me into the trees where a man can bargain

eye to eye with Fate, that screech of a mistress.

Truth to tell, I got tired of seeing men

sneak off somewhere to cry. All them generals,

drunk on the blood of so many lives, talk all

night to each other about the hard picket

lines, how graceful the horses, and how lovely

were the eyes of their men, how scared, how sanguine.