Paul David Adkins Page 2

who knew anything about it. Out of breath, stuttering
a frightened Elmer Fudd. It must have seemed funny
because the fruit stand owner laughed
at him as he spoke. The customers
laughed. Women and children
laughed. First snickers and giggles then

unhideable guffaws. Finger-pointing,
head-shaking, tear-drawing
laughter. Laughter escorting the commander
back to his truck where he retrieved
from the trunk a baseball bat and two SAW gunners.
The laughter quieted.

The customers stepped back
and the store owner ducked
as the commander suddenly swung his bat
into the melons, dates, soda cans,

water bottles, oranges.
Now laughter perked up from the Humvees,

the guards, the commander screaming,

Who's laughing now,
as his pulp-dripping bat rose and fell.

terp: interpreter
SAW: Squad Automatic Weapon, a light machine gun

Paul David Adkins graduated from Washington University with an MFAW in poetry. He has served in the U.S. Army, touring twice in Iraq and in Afghanistan.