The Itch

by David Dresner

I figured all of them for the itch,

and not the camp itch that our men have,

but the seven year kind.

Even the little one with the crescent moon scar

from her temple to her chin: She had it too!

There were children all over the house.

Children hanging from oil lamps, fatherless and filthy,

curled up on the floor, needing milk, medicine,

climbing the pantry, needing more.

They were looking at me like I was their pa,

asking when the war was going to be over,

asking me to stay, to help.

I decided against taking the oldest one,

who was probably fifteen, to marry,

and instead bought a carton of eggs from their mother.

It wasn’t until I was shot later that month

that I thought of them, all alone at that big house,

legs all mud-caked and faces half-slanted like dirty bitch pups.

~ by jwoodall on September 23, 2008.

One Response to “The Itch”

  1. […] The Itch […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: