We keep passing road markers
on the long, curved trail of death in Iraq.

There were one hundred thirty-eight dead American soldiers
when Bush, impersonating a combat pilot,
proclaimed, Mission Accomplished.

Then it was two hundred, then three, four, five hundred.
Now we have passed the nine hundred marker
on the bitter trail of death.

Are we safer? Do they hate us less?
Perhaps this doesn’t happen until we pass a thousand,
or perhaps two or three or ten thousand.

Or perhaps not until as many Americans have died
as Iraqis we have killed.
Perhaps they will never hate us less.

Nor will we ever be safer
while we are dropping bombs on Iraqis, or Iranians,
or North Koreans. Anyone.

What was it we accomplished so early on the trail of death?
And didn’t Bush look dashing all dressed up for war?

Baghdad, 21 July 2004 (Associated Press): “A roadside bomb exploded north of Baghdad early Wednesday, killing one U.S. 1st Infantry Division soldier and bringing to 900 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the beginning of military operations in March 2003.”