Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

The Anthropologist; Driving Out of the Woods to the Motel

The Anthropologist; Driving Out of the Woods to the Motel
Photograph via Flickr by vxla
The Anthropologist

I bring my waterproof notebook, Arabic phrasebook, bug spray,
a terror of snakes. I drive the wrong way and the car is spat onto
Sanitary Field Road, or onto the road for Normandy or littler
massacres. Or for the meat you eat after. Do I take it with vinegar
or sweet? Separate the shoulder from the rib. Spit me onto Pork
Chop Hill, Ham Road, Chicken Lane, Devil Way, and into the hold
of these woods. So, what do you study? Is this part of a class for you?
Jeeps grow and grow under the pines. It’s true, they take me for
BBQ after, ask me am I comfortable, do I want dessert and what
do I think I know about them and do I know any Americans who
went to war or don’t I and if I don’t who do I think I am, and do I
agree that through my
                                                                                              stomach, they will get
                                                                                              my heart?

Driving Out of the Woods to the Motel

After the soldiers finish the game, neutralizing whomever they believe
is a danger to the free world, my friend & I drive out together, off
the highway, past a sign that says KIA. I say: “Killed-In-Action”? No.
It is a dealership, bright cars in a wide lot. As the city comes out of the
gasoline haze: Days Inn, Walmart, Chick Fil-A (the woods bluing to
a point), we practice for his naturalization exam. Who is the “Father
of Our Country?” What are the principles of American democracy?
Renounce now, on oath, all prior loyalties. It is natural, friend, to want
to live. How neutral you wished to be, hired to bring your country to life.
No preparing for how the bomb packed with ball bearings & nails denatured
the body. The acronym, neutered, turns blank into a lot, but how

                                                                                              we counted them,
                                                                                              row by row.

NOTE: These poems appear in Kill Class, based on two years of fieldwork Stone conducted within war trainings in mock Middle Eastern villages erected by the US military across America.