Stopped once more at Security, he grins,
throws up his hands, steps through the scanner again.
Yes, he’s packing metal, but it’s in him.

He’s unarmed, now, no longer a killer.
He gave up his weapons—his M-16,
grenades, handgun, knife stashed in his boot.

He’s just trying to get from here to there,
wants to fly with a drink and a movie
playing. No watch, no shoes, but now he’ll bare

himself to his skivvies so the guy can
search him, and hey, safety is what it’s all
about. No reason they should trust his tale

of jungle warfare, and he’s seen enough
explosions to last a lifetime, no use
coming through hell to shatter over wheat-

fields, amber waves of grain, purple mountain
majesties, etc. He’s learned, too, not
to joke about where his blood gets its iron,

from this shrapnel rusting in him, too near
his spine to remove, ghosts on MRIs.
Sometimes piercing skin, coming up for air.