By Jeff Manthos

Last night as I was
preparing to go on patrol
It happened all over again

I needed lead for my model 1911 .45
I needed rounds for my carbine
and I can’t find any

I look and look for a box
there must be a box of ammo here, there has to be
I just can’t find it

Finally Gunny says “Here, dumbshit” and
hands me a bag of nails and screws
and I know they won’t work

Neither will fit either of my blued steel firearms
but I try anyway, fumbling with a magazine designed to hold
something altogether different

I lay out a nail here, a screw there, along the magazine’s length
And it looks wrong, I know it is.
But I keep trying to make sense of it

Finally my squad leader says “Okay, let’s go.
We’re going to be moving past the British lines
so walk like this.”

And he did a Monty Python-like silly walk
mocking the British style of march
aiming to annoy an ally

And so another dream about not being able to be prepared
for war melded the comic with the bizarre
into an early morning exercise in futility.

Editor's note: This poem was initially published under our original name, The Deadly Writer's Patrol, in issue #7 (2009). Reproduced here with consent of Jeff Manthos.