As he lay in a slit trench, in the dark,
next to the howitzer – smelling the gun oil
despite the cold, shivering despite
the army issue blanket and a tribesman’s
sheepskin tunic he’d bartered for – he thought
of tomorrow’s oven heat, turned, looked up.
Before he came to India, he’d never seen
so many stars. He’d eleven months to go
before his discharge – better counted that way
than in days or weeks. But maybe he’d sign on
for another tour.