A click of a lower receiver detaching from the upper receiver Sand pours out Every piece of the weapon covered in grit I scrub and scrub and it never comes clean Looking up there’s fifteen to go That’s the only way to get respect around here Be useful So I clean their stuff too That’s what women are for...scrubbing on hands and knees in dirt And fucking The rest of the platoon sits in chairs Watching my every move They laugh and joke around Oblivious to my discomfort Or delighting in it? Seeking refuge in each other All of the weapons are laid out Broken apart But the bolt carriers, firing pins They turn to bright prices of plastic as I touch them useless And mixed up Does this charging handle go to this serial? Or this? I try to fit the weapons back together but the plastic parts are too soft, Too big in my hands. Everyone turns to watch me struggle Their impatience with me grows as their chatter shrinks I begin to cry Terrified that they will see the moon dust tracks down my cheeks Cammie sleeve smearing the dirt Hands shaking I stand “Who told?” Everyone averts their eyes Except for the small one in the back He raises his hand slowly... And I lose it And none of you helped? You knew and did nothing? Horrible hot tears fall My voice is shaky...shrieking That’s not what a Marine sounds like That is a little girl. How could you sit there and do nothing? How can you sit there still and watch me cry and do nothing? Why don’t you care? Silence in the room but for my sobs Faces full of irritation or confusion I was raped Bryce knew! He saw, why doesn’t anyone believe me? I’m crying, God, someone just do something The lieutenant stands Anger coloring his face Shut up, Marine. Crying isn’t going to make us like you any more. We aren’t going to feel sorry for you with your blubbering. You want to prove yourself? Be worthy of us giving a fuck? Blouses off He starts to unbutton his top I turn numb He takes the stance Marines don’t mind getting punched in the face Maybe you’ll be a real Marine I don’t want to fight But this anger of mine is hot Expanding in my chest If anger could hone skill, I would win If will toppled clumsiness, he would be tapping in seconds I want to feel his life drain from his body Anger as a force To overcome boot belts My fingers ache to crush his throat I’m about to die at the hands of a friendly Green on green assault Pink and purple firing pins and charging handles scattered at my feet He lunges at me Knocks me to my back Cracking my head on the sand There’s no breath in my lungs I struggle to inhale Inhale the fumes of diesel, dust, and death Looking up I see the MATV Covered in blood and bones I’ll be useful here Cleaning again Bottles of water and a broom Scrubbing Blood on my cammies Moon dust turned to rust The blood doesn’t stop coming No matter how much I scrub it’s there Bone shards prickling my hands Largest one the size of a quarter Placed in my pockets until I can’t carry anymore His screams fill my ears Or are they mine?