Eric Fair at Literary Hub:
Easter arrives. The nightmares have become more frequent. On Easter morning, I go for a run on Camp Victory. I explore a new portion of the base where the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division is setting up. A large artificial hill rises out of the empty fields. This is where the workers piled the dirt to dig out the canals and lakes for Saddam’s palaces. Everyone says this is where Saddam Hussein buried the chemical weapons. From the top of the hill I can see the buildings and minarets of Baghdad. I hear the Muslim call to prayer and think about Sunday services at the First Presbyterian Church. I remember an organ prelude accompanied by the Philadelphia Brass, the choir processing down the aisle and singing “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today.” The “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. In high school, I used to attend all four Easter services before getting French-kissed in the church parking lot.
A large formation of soldiers from the 1st Cav Division reaches the top of the hill. They stop for push-ups and sit-ups. The sergeant berates the stragglers who are still making their way up the hill. His profanity is interrupted by incoming mortar rounds. We scatter over the sides of the hill and make our way back down to lower ground. I sit with other soldiers in a bunker made of large cement highway dividers. An officer says, “They watch from the minarets. Fucking assholes call artillery on Easter Sunday from a fucking mosque.”