This poem is from The Oyster-Stuffed Locker by Hudson Phillips
The surface of the helmet was stolid and done,
no trace of country, or religion, or human character
could be summoned should I tap upon it
to awaken the wearer.
To be thus, unknown, is the ultimate price that war exacts.
I placed it on my head,
grimacing in mock ferocity and bucking my teeth,
like a cat with a rat’s leftovers,
squinting my eyes like a Samurai warrior and shouting “Banzai.”
A sweet, coconut-scented hair oil could be detected along the sweat band
that argued the point,
and I took it off immediately.
The owner had been a man,
who smelled like other men,
his smell mingling with mine –
It was all so far away, and long ago,
and I was just eleven.
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