Bill McCloud: Two Poems


Just before I killed him
I saw his eyes
Then blood was running between them
and he stumbled
and fell to his knees
and it was over
He lay on his back
and still his eyes were open
I checked his pockets
and found only a snapshot
of a beautiful child
with shining eyes
A younger replica
of the man who lay before me
I dropped my gun
and replaced the photo
buttoning back the pocket
I sat beside the body
until Harper came up and said, “Let’s go”
I said, “Go ahead
I’ll follow”
but I knew I wouldn’t
I began digging in the ground
and worked
and sweated more than an hour
then rolled the body into the hole
and followed it with my gun
I filled it back
and sat beneath a tree a few feet away


​Slow Motion

Once I put my fist
through a window
for no reason at all

and watched the
glass breaking
in slow motion

*Both poems are from Bill’s book The Smell of the Light: Vietnam, 1968-1969

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