This is not a pleasant image, especially when you realize it is an authentic photographic, not a rendering. Yet I felt compelled to include it, to remind us of what war really looks like. This photograph was taken near Petersburg, Virginia, almost certainly in a battle referenced in these letters. The fatal wound was inflicted by shrapnel. Shrapnel literally means fragment, and this entire poem is made up of fragments from the letters. In most cases, the fragments were selected by me from letters which were actually intact, although some parts are illegible. I've scanned these letters in the order in which they first appear in the poem. Because of the deliberate fragmentation, sections of some of the letters may appear scattered throughout the poem. They are not chronological.