Donut Dollies (by Yusef Komunyakaa)

The three stood outside TOC
smiling, waiting with donuts & coffee
for the dusty-green platoon
back from a fire fight,
as the midday sun
fell through their sky-
blue dresses with Red Cross
insignias over their breasts,
like half-hearted cheerleaders.
But the GIs filed past them
with night-long tracer glare
still in their eyes
& the names of dead men
caught in their throats.
Across the hills a recoilless rifle
& mortar spoke to each other.
They followed a thousand-yard stare
until they walked out of boots and fatigues
& fled into the metal stalls
to shower off the night.
For days the donut dollies
were unable to stop shaking
their heads, like a ripple
trembling through horses.
Even back at the Officers’ Club
they couldn’t pull their eyes away
from the line of infantrymen
dragging their tired feet,
molded into a slow melody
inside bowed heads. They
were unable to feel the hands
slip under their uniforms & touch
money belts next to their pale skin.

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