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In Medias Res Sand Lori Parker So much sand I don’t think I’ll ever get clean again. It gets in the cracks, the crevices of your body. Grit in every pore. It crawls through your hair, lodges deep under each fingernail, between your toes, up your nose and you wake up with it in your eyes. Sand. Grit. God, it’s so damn gritty. You feel it between your teeth and your lips; you crunch on it when you eat your food or grind your teeth at night. I swear I think there’s a chance I might spill out on the ground like a sandbag if one of those nomads ever opens me up with his bayonet. Or bullet. Or IED. It clogs your throat, you know. You puke it up until you want to scream, until you pray to God Almighty, "Just let me die!" But then you get a gulp of air, a sip of clear water and you remember you’re alive and you don’t want to die anymore. No, you want to live. You want to live until you fall down again and get another mouthful of that god-awful grit. That sand – it just fills you up until there's no room for your soul anymore and you’re just one of those bags they lay down against the flood. Floods of blood and sand. You’re a sandbag again. Cannon fodder. First Infantry. The President doesn’t want to bring us home. Not yet. We still have a job to do; and so we go, we run and obey, and we can’t stop. But we can die. That will stop us. Death will stop us. And this sand, this desert. That will stop us. Maybe. But then the LT fives us a fresh canteen and says, "Here, son, drink this. It’s pure, it’s cold. That’s right, soldier, drink. Drink.” The water is cool, his voice soothing, gruff, solid. You feel the clear clean of it slide down your throat, but it mixes with the sand and you gag on mud. He thumps you on the back. “Wash it out, Son. Spit it out. Don’t swallow you’ll choke. Spit. Swish and spit. It’ll come out, I promise. It’ll come out and you’ll get out. Now do it. Do it.” He doesn’t say it, but I hear him just the same. “Do it, do it, do it.” Rapid fire, like bullets zipping into sand, like the beat of a heart, panicked. It gets faster and faster. “Do it and you will get clean. Do it and you will get out. Do it but you can’t go home. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet!” 14

Profile for Odyssey Project

In Medias Res: Vol. 2, Summer 2013  

The Odyssey Project's original publication featuring brand new fiction, poetry, reviews, profiles, interviews and more from Odyssey Project...

In Medias Res: Vol. 2, Summer 2013  

The Odyssey Project's original publication featuring brand new fiction, poetry, reviews, profiles, interviews and more from Odyssey Project...

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