The Doughboy – Nathan Dennis

I find myself here —
All covered in chicken wire
Plumped full of metal:
A bled out, trussed up Christmas roast of a man
Spilled over on no man’s land

I feel the wind on my liver.
I always hated the wind.
In the winter, it felt like it cut me
Like it was going right through me.
Now it is going right through me.

Can anybody see me?
I can’t see well now.
Everything is very grey.
Though it was grey earlier.
Exhaust and snow and gas make the best ash to hide the dead.

They won’t hide me, though.
I am high off the ground.
It will take a mortar to dislodge me.
And I’ll have died by then.
I won’t lie to myself. Snowflakes feel hot.

I should think of my last words —
Something someone may remember me by.
Or something I may remember myself by.
“Mother?” “Father?” “God is great?”
“God damn you sons of bitches who sent us here in your stead?”

The chicken wire seems so soft now.
A brilliant string of lights that decorates my body
Bedecked by pooling jewel ornaments of my blood
I catch a warm snowflake on the tip of my tongue,
A snowflake that tastes of somewhere not here.

The twinkling stars of machine guns blink hello
And sprout maroon goose feathers through my wounds.
I gurgle out through iron-rich froth,
“Happy Christmas.”
I am an angel. My God, How beautiful I am.


Nathan Dennis is a Manhattan based playwright and poet of Floridian extraction. A graduate of NYU Tisch Department of Dramatic Writing, he served as a Rita and Burton Goldberg Fellow, and was awarded Outstanding Writing for the Stage in Spring of 2015. He received the Magnolia Review Ink Award for his poem “Meditations on the Creation,” in January 2019. His most recent play, Circle of Shit, was presented by Dixon Place in March, 2019.

Cabinet Of Heed Contents Link 23

Image via Wikimedia Commons from the private collection of David Ball [Public domain]

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