Why I Never Wrote about the Army

The Iowa Review - - KAREN SKOLFIELD -

Four hours a night and we slept with our ri­fles, strap twined around skinny fore­arms, brass and ammo locked away and catch on safety. Drill Sergeant Robin­son warned that if he snuck into our shel­ter halves and nabbed a ri­fle, why, we’d be push­ing Fort Dix off the map. We laughed, our voices too high, our cam­ou­flage paint crack­ing into fright­ened, toothy grins. He held a ri­fle over his head: “For the next eight weeks, this is your boyfriend!” I thought, “girl­friend.”

No one in my pla­toon breathed a word the nights Alexis crept into my bunk. Af­ter full-pack road marches I’d wake scream­ing from a charley horse, an­i­mal sounds ragged and out of touch with the night. They were glad I had some­one to smooth my cramped mus­cles and shut me up. And ev­ery­one was so far from home. Lat­est ru­mor was that a girl in the next pla­toon was get­ting dis­charged for be­ing queer and I asked my ranger buddy

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