Commendation Accumulation Syndrome

"We don't do body counts," the general said,
reciting statistics of "enemy" bodies now dead,
from right off of the top of his four-cornered wooden-block head,
in tribute, he thought, to the recycled soldiers he led
from behind, on the phone, at his desk, in his office instead
of the battlefield, distant, upon which he'd not likely tread
Until his jet airplane could visit, then vanish, in dread
of targeting by the dead enemy's relatives, bled
for data required by computers to process a thread
of thought, indistinct, yet compelling: "Print paper, then shred.
Start again. Go to START. Iterate." Up the ladder he sped.
. . .
Then he turned on the nightlight. Asleep in his general's bed,
he dreamed of the body-count numbers upon which he fed.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2018