Vietnam Full Disclosure


The Bodies Beneath the Table by W. D. Ehrhart

Published on: March 9, 2015

Filed Under: Poet's Corner

Views: 2321


The Bodies Beneath the Table


                                                            Hue City, 1968

                                                            (or was it Fallujah,

                                                            Stalingrad, or Ur?)


The bodies beneath the table

had been lying there for days.

Long enough to obliterate their faces,

the nature of their wounds.

Or maybe whatever killed them

ruined their faces, too.

Impossible now to tell.

Only the putrefying bodies

bloated like Macy’s Parade balloons,

only unrecognizable lumps on

shoulders where heads should be.


The two of them seemed to be a couple:

husband and wife, lovers perhaps,

maybe brother and sister—who

could tell—but they’d pulled the table

into a corner away from the windows,

their only protection against

the fighting raging around them,

crawled beneath it—the table, I mean—

half sitting, bent at the waist,

close together, terrified, almost

certainly terrified, nothing but noise,

only each other, only each other,

any moment their last.


All these years I’ve wondered

how they died. Who were they.

Who remembers.

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