Dawn smelled like swamp, tasted like bug juice,
but the sand fleas didn’t seem to mind.
Biting like junkyard dogs having breakfast,
with mosquitoes they sat and dined.

Drill instructors barking colorful invective,
“Your squad better have their shit tight!”
Force marched into the boonies.
Camouflaged dromedaries in twilight.

Whoever put lightweight in ALICE
must never have been on a hump,
because seventy pounds on your back
is one heavy monumental lump.

Stale water in the canteens
that you’re not even allowed to drink.
Empty trashcan alarm clock
Day one, big surprise, bootcamp stinks.

Woken at zero dark thirty,
march to chow, hurry up and wait.
After several trips to the Rose Garden,
once loved exercise I now hate.

Inspections are a daily menace
as we are somehow expected to transform
half-century year old buildings and uniforms
into something that looks barely worn.

Ninety-one days of this bullshit,
I can’t wait to get out into the Fleet.
If I have to do any more close order drill
I swear I will chop off my feet.

M. Zane McClellan

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Jennifer Wells One Word Photo Challenge: Camel