On a Bethesda Lawn
His stump is not like the bloody
arm Jack Palance left under a German
tank in that '50s movie.
This young man knows he left his right
leg, somewhere below the knee, in his Humvee
outside of Baghdad. He remembers
the Navy corpsman, the tourniquet
the surgeon and then the letting go.
He woke to a titanium leg
with computer chips and memory
that collects his first and last falls.
The Marine has done the sure-footed
dance from dot to dot on exercise
mats. He can now assemble his legs
as quickly as he can breakdown his gun.
He will run a marathon some day.
Today on the Bethesday Hospital lawn
he walks, parents at his side, feeling
through his brilliant circuitry
every tuff. every blade of grass, every crater
assuming all that lies before him
is alive and deadly.