Aftermath

The photographer
repositioned the body
of the soldier
to make the composition
more dramatic.

He knew a distorted truth
sold better than
the naked truth
unless the naked truth
was a naked lady.
But that was not gentlemanly
or a proper subject.

The photographer
knew the truth
was already distorted
since burial parties
removed most of the bodies
to place them side by side
in long trenches
with no markers.

This poor fellow
was oddly preserved.
Not bloated or blue-skinned.
The photographer guessed
the man died during the night
after his late arrival—
died an agonizing two days
after the fighting ended
and the armies withdrew.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

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