There on a beach in Florida, age 19, two men,
Four muscled knees, two white, two black,
Rising and falling and glistening with sand:
Black on the white, white on the black.

Glistening with sand and sweat and foam
panting and laughing they run from the sea
to the sand, over and over, rehearsing       life
lunges through them, white teeth dry
in the onrushing wind. Legs lift and pound,
locked side by side, well muscled knees.
Their buttocks, their thighs, their backs
stacked straight and glistening, their shoulders, their jaws,
Their tight shorn scalps. Nothing seen of the bright
red blood. Nothing but fierceness of joy in their eyes.

There on a beach in Florida where neither came
back when rehearsal went real and they fell in the sand
Guns firing at them, knees lifted and fell
through the line of the surf and fell,
glistening with sand, and blood, in a far away land, with a jungle behind,
glistening all day, in their blood and their knees
black and white, still, in the sand and the onrushing wind.

Will Kirkland
February, 2005, San Francisco