The candy tasted like burnt tar.
His little sister ate it
in the passenger seat of his car
as they drove through town.
He named all the stores as he drove by them.
That’s what soldiers do, he said.
It’s how you know you remember them.
He stopped for squabbling pigeons on the road.
As feral as rats they may have been
but they were his birds.
He wasn’t about to skittle them.
It was battle-zone candy, he told her.
She screwed up her face but she finished it.
Besides he added, I had to bring back something.
The taste stayed with her for days.
She got off easy as it turns out.