As I pulled into the onramp
I saw their hulking brown shapes
rolling by on too many wheels.
They had soldiers on their backs
like Hannibal’s elephants,
but they moved at over fifty miles per hour.
I slowed my approach
waiting for the last vehicle to pass
with its yellow “Convoy Ahead” sign.
I pulled behind it and wondered,
“What roads will they ride in a couple of weeks?”,
as young men in bulky desert camoflage
looked down on me through sunglasses
jammed under their cloth-wrapped helmets.
They looked like robots,
they were so expressionless.
These were somebody’s kids,
some barely out of high school,
training to go and risk their lives
in a country they would not understand,
for reasons they might not grasp.
As I pulled around to begin passing them
I wondered if I should wave, or give a thumbs up.
All I could manage was a vague smile,
but who knows what they were seeing.