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By Halves


What was the 1st Minnesota
           doing in Pennsylvania?
   then, what was anyone doing there
        duty
        fate
  maybe fate
But after the charge on the 2nd
       down the hill
   the colors falling three times
       to be picked up four
  the regiment a penisula
      alone and crazy with war
  though mostly alone
    to fall back on duty
                  honor
 when support
  finally reared its
      glorious head

But William suffered
       twice the loneliness
  first
      as a soldier would
  but after the charge
    alone that night
        to half sleep
   over cries of comrades'
       to live their 
     bloody gargled last breaths
  to the next morning
    when he buried his
          brother by halves
   separated by a shell
   and a full measure of devotion
       each half facing the enemy
           in life
           as in death
       each half      ...
 william buried his brother by halves
       my God,
                  by halves



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