He is on his way to death-by-heat-stroke,
cooking from inside out, thermostat busted
by fucking stress, dirty combat, too many pounds.
A Navy corpsman—the Marine Corps uses the Navy
to take care of its wounded—twice our weight, humping
with us, south of Khe Sanh, beneath 130-degree steel sky.
Medivac chopper is inbound to grab his fat-boy body,
but now he needs water—all available water—
to try to kick his temperature off its thousand-meter hilltop.
All of us are dry—deadly, armed, and dying for even filthy,
pissed-in water, but have to pour what little we have on this
Fucking New Guy—who should never have been with us.
An officer yells: Bagwell! Get all the full canteens you can find!
I float a hundred or so yards back, along the hot ghostly jungle
trail, litteredwith our combat debris, hallucinating
the taste of fresh cool water.
I grab all the canteens I can find—including my own.
I swallow my fill, bloat my belly. I flutter back and
watch the rest run down the sagging, fat, flesh.
For seconds, the red dirt darkens, and then it is dry again.
I stole water from a dying human being:
I live with my choice daily.
Fucking new guy.
 The Marine Corps does not have chaplains or medical staff, using Navy officers and enlisted sailors for these roles.