the wax paper

So We Shot

We liked to shoot things. 

Boys being boys. 

We shot birds and parrots and gulls and things we didn't know the names for. 

We shot monkeys and gibbons and lemurs and deer and pigs and turtles. 

We shot dogs and goats. 

We shot flying things and crawling things and swimming and walking things. 

We shot oxen and water buffalo in the open paddies and bet how many M-16 rounds it would take to buckle one to its knees because it was big and stupid. 

We shot tigers and elephants. Because we rarely saw them, we rarely shot the enemy. 

We shot Montagnards and other primitive people. 

We shot Vietnamese women and children and a goodly number of old men. 

And if any of that were not enough, we shot each other. 

Then we went home and shot ourselves.

Edward Micus is the author of The Infirmary, a collection of poetry, and Landing Zones, a collection of shorts and stories.

Also appearing in The Wax Paper is Micus' poem, YMCA.