My turn had come;
Billy Pigg, helmet flown
lost, shrapnel more alive in him
than blood free as air,
dying in my arms.
Billy asked a blessing, none come
his way since birth. My canteen
came his font. Then he said,
“I never loved anybody.
Can I love you?”
My father told me,
his turn long gone downhill;
“Keep water near you, always.”
He thought I’d be a priest before
all this was over, not a lover.
—First appeared in Qarrtsiluni
Thomas Sheehan’s latest books are Brief Cases, Short Spans and From the Quickening. A collection of cowboy stories, Where the Cowboys Ride Forever, is now in the hands of a western publisher. His work has also appeared in many print and online publications. Sheehan has several Pushcart nominations and won the Georges Simenon Award. His web site is here.