Joe and Bill trained together, learned to cut
bullets from shallow wounds, and how to strap
bruised ribs up. After that there was a gap
of several months, and then the Army put
them both in Egypt. They fought that campaign –
retreated then advanced across the sands.
Bill was the better shot; and Joseph’s hands
did neater stitches. One night in the rain
just outside Rome – they’d got just one day’s leave
and never made it into town. A priest
had made them serve High Mass five times, at least.
In the truck back to camp, you might believe
Bill dozing, till he slumped. Joe caught him, dead
A German sniper shot Bill in the head.