Coming in Paperback March 31st: The Warrior by Frances Richey

Excerpt

KILL SCHOOL

That was the summer he rappelled
down mountains on rope

that from a distance looked thin
as the dragline of a spider,

barely visible, the tension
he descended

into the made-up
state of Pineland

with soldiers from his class.
They started with a rabbit,

and since my son was the only one
who’d never hunted,

he went first. He described it:
moonlight, the softness

of fur, another pulse
against his chest.

The trainer showed him
how to rock the rabbit

like a baby in his arms,
faster and faster,

until every sinew surrendered
and he smashed its head into a tree.

They make a little squeaking sound,
he said. They cry.

He drove as he told me:
You said you wanted to know.

I didn’t ask how he felt.
Maybe I should have,

but I was biting
off the skin from my lips,

looking out
beyond the glittering line

of traffic flying
past us in the dark.

Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from THE WARRIOR: A Mother's Story of a Son at War by Frances Richey.

Copyright 2008 by Frances Richey.