We're pouring concrete into holes created by IEDs—roadside bombs. The ground in Iraq is extremely hard. A landscaper's nightmare, it's not made for digging and planting. Most of the IEDs are set on the top of the ground.
Ryan Smithson is an army reservist, student at Hudson Valley Community College, and employee of Greenbush Child Caring, a before- and after-school program. "Hard Canvas" is an excerpt from Silence and Silhouettes, a work in progress about the author's year in Iraq in 2004–5.