How To Stay Awake On A Training Exercise

Graham Barnhart

When surrounded by Carolina silence
and skeleton pines, and November is midnight-deep

in its foxhole, frost and quarter moonlight
gripping the gun barrels hold memory like a flask

filled with burning sips of her hand
closing the door.

Some guys take straight dips of instant coffee
between their gum and lower lip.

Rougher men snort the grounds into rawed nostrils,
and one even lies with a knife balanced under his chin.

So with nothing to remember, hold the point
gentle beneath you—your eyes buried in the dark.