Interview With Sgt. Davis, Kabul, 2012
“Am I sorry I enlisted? Hmm…”
The reporter waits as the sergeant takes
one long draw on a Lucky. She
exhales her answer in a cloud:
“At first, yeah. I mean, you’re
surrounded by big ole boo-rah boys,
they’re staring at your boobs. Little
whispers, lick their lips, high school shit.
“Faces like little boys opening
Christmas presents: “This one
is MINE!” Like I’m a thing, like
that chess piece? A pawn.
“Then the testosterone starts: A
shove at my shoulder, telling me
I don’t belong here. And that was
in Boot, in the States, you hear me?”
Sgt. Davis falls silent and takes
another drag. “I remember the
final attempt to break my pride.
Three against one: the showers.
“Taking turns, daring me to scream,
saying ‘Call your mama, little girl,’
and I don’t tell the sarge, ‘cause if
I do, they’re gonna do it again.
“Tried to bust me, but they were wrong.
My grandma raised me, she used to say
God only makes beauty; it’s people
make their own selves ugly.
“She’s in my dreams. We’ll be rocking
on the front porch, sipping coffee.”
Pause. A sip of bitter brown hot.
“Here’s the thing. I know they finally
figured out I got as much fire in the belly
as any of them punkass boys. Now I’m
their sergeant. They do what I say, and
women in my unit are safe, protected.
“Well, time to fire up my unit. We’re
outta here at oh-two-hundred, night raids.
One thing… I’m proud to serve, but what
we’re serving up here is bullshit, you hear?
“Write it down: BULL. SHIT. Women’s
life here, worse that anything I ever saw
back home, and we’re doing nothing that
won’t go back to the old ways.
“Nice talkin’ to ya.” She grins and extends
a knuckle-bruised, weathered hand. “Time to
kick some ass in the name of democracy and
Burger King, keep burqas off the women for a while.”
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil