Hugh Martin
Hugh Martin is a veteran of the Iraq war and the author of The Stick Soldiers (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2013) and So, How Was the War (Kent State UP, 2010). His work has appeared recently in The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, and The New York Times’ At War blog. Martin has an MFA from Arizona State and he is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. 

Site 947: A Situation Report
There are 946 suspected WMD sites in Iraq

Again we drove through the night,

the splash of black
on our tires. We found the valley
in the stale hills miles from the village
of As Sa’Diyah.

From a naked ridge, we looked down
through NVG goggles
and saw the green
swamp of shaking sticks,
thousands of legs,
arms pulsing,

falling atop each other: hundreds
of camel spiders
fucking in the moonlight. We knew

to be still. We stood
as if at attention. They moved,
a swarm on the ground,
all of them touching,
the entire swamp shifting
as they changed positions.

We backed up, our boots slow
on the sand,
but for no reason,
Jensen began to applaud.

Although they didn’t seem to notice,
we jumped into the Humvees
and drove, our rear gunner scanning
from the turret, the dust

from our trucks gliding, blue
in the moonlight,
like a slow rain off the ridge.

2013 Hugh Martin
Hugh Martin was a Featured Poet who read his poetry at the November 2013 Second Sunday Poetry Series