I came upon a man in black who sat on a tank,
tending his sheep that grazed impassively
around the craters and among dead bodies.
I am looking for my son, I said squinting.
The bullets in his cartridge belt slung
over his shoulder shone in the sun like teeth.
He smiled, chewing a cigarette to the other
corner of his mouth, and motioned with his hand
to the field. Plenty to choose from, he said.
The sheep were moving away towards the shade
of a big oak tree, the bodies following
on all fours. I strained my ears to hear the bell
I knew. He slid down and stared at me.
Is that your stomach growling, he asked.
I am just trying to find my son, I whispered.
You want me to shoot one? he spat out the butt
and stomped it with his boot that was like my son’s.
We are talking about some good meat, he grinned.
The shirt looked familiar, but I couldn’t tell.
My sheep started to fan out and I suddenly heard
a dog yelp behind me. He whistled, the sound
thin and piercing, making the bodies stop.
I felt the sweat run down my buttocks and legs,
as if someone punctured holes in my ribs.
Have you seen my son, I uttered, not knowing
whether any sound left my mouth. You never had
a son, he yelled and cocked his submachine gun.
The boots were the same, and so was the shirt.
And the Mickey Mouse watch on his hand was the same.
Tell you what, he said and laughed. I’ll be your son.