POEM: Deuce & Half

no diesel beast growls
quite like a deuce and half
laboring, lumbering, up a hill
it pops out a machine gun cadence
if a machine gun had to gasp now and again
gasp timed to gear grinding
then there is the chatter of the flap
that tinks upon the exhaust stack
beating out an unlovable rhythm
it smells like tarp, oily and musty
it feels like wood bench slats
that flex only with the most jarring bounce
but not enough to spare a kidney
helmets slop around on skulls
it’s a long drop when that creaky tailgate opens
who knows where?