Autumn Sky Poetry - Number 2

Photo Seven of Seven
alongside Tyler Hicks' "Taliban Execution" photos at POYi

Before the seven photos,
he had taken a bullet
to the upper thigh and hid
in a ditch where, in the first
photo, he is found by three
Northern Alliance soldiers,
who drag him over the lip

of the road south to Kabul,
just feet from where, shot two, his
fellow Taliban lies dead,
blood pooling from his limp head,
but this soldier, as shown in
the fourth photo, being forced
to walk this high Afghan plain's

dirt road loses, from a squat
and wide-eyed in photo three,
as again in photo six,
his appeal to live, and gets
pulled up by his arms and dragged,
shot five, with the dead soldier
to his execution point,

the stones of his path to death
tugging his bloody white pants
down his naked legs to bunch
around his boots, the soldiers
who first found him not having
shot him to die in the ditch
and lighting him a last smoke,

so he lies for seven, stiff,
gripping his inner cuffs, arms
curved to the hazy white sky,
and looking for all the world
an anchor without its rope,
but man's legs knees up instead,
or his legs are bait, the worm

squirmed from an invisible
haddock's lips, arms that section
of the hook caught in its mouth,
taught line up to a Collins
ferry filled with hungry dead,
photographer in the way
of the fish, three men, rifles

poised, eight camouflaged others
continuing due south, all
but one watching the death scene
they as a group created,
an encourager shouting
back to the squad to shoot, which
the soldiers must have, no eight.




Rus Bowden

Rus Bowden sells cars and lives in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the same place where a couple ex-wives and four grown kids used to live with him. His poetry has appeared in Aught, Break Out of the Box, The Melic Review, The Quarterly Journal of Ideology, SaucyVox(dot)com (now The Green Muse), and most recently in the Guardian's Poetry Workshop (February 2006). His weekly column Poetry & Poets in Rags can be found within the InterBoard Poetry Community at Web Del Sol.


© 2006 Rus Bowden