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a forward observer writes haiku

by Randy Brown


The King of Battle!
Genuflect to indirect
fires overhead!


That song about when
“caissons go marching along”?
That’s Artillery.


Flash against the clouds,
a rain of steel announced by
the crump of thunder.


The archer’s tale starts
“I have a fire mission”
and ends in an arc.


Much like carpenters,
we measure twice and shoot once.
Mistakes are costly.

In 2010, Randy Brown was preparing for deployment to Eastern Afghanistan as a member of the Iowa Army National Guard’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry ‘Red Bull’ Division. After a paperwork snafu dropped him from the list, he retired with 20 years of military service and a previous deployment. He then went to Afghanistan anyway, embedding with Iowa’s Red Bull units as a civilian journalist in May-June 2011. He blogs about military topics at His poetry and nonfiction is published or forthcoming in The Corn Belt Almanac, Midwestern Gothic, So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Spillway, and the first three editions of the anthology Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, published annually by Southeast Missouri State University Press.

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