Mayday
“And if there’s no way to radio for help,  
use red flares or the SOS signal.  
Three taps of metal on metal. S. O. S.”  
Though he didn’t make the sound,  
we could all hear the taps in our heads,  
hear the exact pitch and call of those taps,  
the ringing, the way metal can amplify sound,  
send it long distances, S–O–S,  
perhaps a shovel against a flagpole,  
a wrench against a pipe or one rifle  
to another, although how desperate  
would you have to be to bang rifles together,  
what would have happened, what foxhole  
would you be in, would there be a body  
next to yours, maybe a little bit alive  
but not caring that you were knocking  
her carefully sighted scope to shit, because  
that sound of metal on metal would be  
her last hope, that desperate noise above  
the night sounds or maybe hidden  
in battle chatter but still you hit  
with metal on metal, ammunition case  
against canteen, canteen to rations kit,  
rations kit to bayonet, one, two, three,  
one, two, three, you only have to count  
to three but each set seems so long,  
so metallic, the helmets now are Kevlar  
or you’d use it one, two, three, what a ring  
a metal helmet would have, how it would tug  
at the ears of someone, a medic nearby,  
a priest, maybe she’s Catholic, she might be  
Catholic, yes, you distinctly remember  
that conversation and how you brought up  
the priest pedophile thing. And wish  
for time to say sorry one, two, three,  
your tiring arms and the longer and longer  
pauses one, two, three, and now  
your signal sounds like metal swinging at air. 
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