tanks roll ashore from landing ship at Luzon
[ This image is in the public domain. ]

Animals of War

There is arrivederci in the North End,
Boston fog, blue twine around a box of cannoli.
Darling Gina

posing with a little leg on the front stoop, becoming
a marsupial in his breast pocket.

Grey sky. Grey steel. Grey train

grinding cold tracks down the eastern seaboard
to New London, Connecticut
where he takes to water.

He is amphibious,

deploying on a Navy LST. Cuba in July. Panama Canal
in August. On the way to battle
in Luzon,

he’ll cross the equator as a pollywog. Older sailors
smear his chest with axle grease.
They shave his hair.

He is transformed.
He is a shellback.