A naked boy on the battlefield, de-legged or legless, only got one arm left, ash and grass and blood and a gunpowder smell. In his stomach—stomach of bee wax candle wax—a gash: a neat, clean wound, criminally surgical.
His body lies on the ground and our gaze is level with his pale eyes.
Mortars soundlessly cover every square foot.
The boy looks into the camera. Do you think he knows he hasn’t got legs anymore? Do you think he knows he’s arrestingly beautiful and that he will set before the sun today?
The boy looks into the camera and painfully moves his hand toward his stomach he cocks his hand lazily extends an index finger eager, and he dips the hungry finger into the blood grin on his belly, up to the first knuckle.
He’s still looking at us, he’s not going to break this precious eye contact.
He cranes his arm up again, eyes half closed ecstasy or slavery or death pain—shrouded in pain we are born, shrouded in pain we are pushed out of life—and he, helplessly on his back, holds the finger up for us.
Look, a caterpillar! he seems to want to say, but it’s not a caterpillar and he doesn’t say anything at all, he is silent, his eyes are closed now.
A hand lies in the grass.