The eightieth soldier was blown up in Salahuddin Province.
The American military reported that Staff Sergeant Oahe Lightfoot
was killed in an enemy action over the weekend.
She was driving near an insurgent stronghold when her armored
vehicle struck a land mine.
At twenty-four she had steered through sandstorms with the same
sure hands that guided her oars when she rafted white water
down the Cheyenne River.
On this trip toward Baghdad, dust tracks from a convoy of medical
supplies vanished in seconds. Sand covered clefts in the road;
then the road melted to desert.
When she saw the first mounds, they were boulders up the Black Hills
where trails wind solitary in spring and tiny spruce brand her
palms as she pulls herself up, rock by rock.
One blast killed her. Its fire paled with the sun's explosion over
bluestem grass on prairie north of Buffalo Gap, exactly when
a caisson rolled her casket through the trees of Virginia.
Patricia Giragosian lives in Concord, Massachusetts.