Once I held a gun in the bush.
That Ak47 was nearly my size but I lifted it.
I was fierce and fearless to my foes,
Taking their lives before they could reach for mine.
Yes, once I killed in the bush;
The men who protected their villages,
The women who protected their children,
The children who would avenge their orphan state.
At that time I was a hero in the army
So decorated by war wounds and scars
That pain became the objective of my existence
And transmitting it my only medicine.
Now I’m 16 years old and peace has killed the need for guns.
My grades and skill set mean nothing.
All left is the emptiness in the memories of maimed men,
Mothers, and children.What to do now?
AH…Once I was told taking lives was the life I needed,
But now I know there was much more to hope for.
Much more to aim AT than innocent targets in the bush
It’s 9pm and the cell phone sings a tune.
She swipes to green to accept the call:
“Who calls so late?” The answer tells of misfortune.
There’s silence as she relives the bullets he received,
Calling for help in gargles on the battlefield
And dropping in the smoky marshes to join the deceased.
Silence as she shakes the thought and thinks of a plan.
Resurrection? Cloning? Parallel universes?
Silence as she seeks retaliation for the death of her man.
The buzz on the line doesn’t take her mind of it,
As she sees her life and his as a silent flick
Rushing in her brain, rambling and troubling in quiet.
Silence as she feels her pulse rise uncontrolled,
And darkness falls as her thud slams the ground,
And the receiver crashes out of her lifeless hold.
His eager war-worn fingers tapped away;
Home sweet home! How glad!
No more late night crawls,
Stealthy whispers; all will be better.
He stares at the dying sun, how glad!
Straight home, to the arms of his weary-with-waiting family.
All the dreary things he had seen, done;
The foetid smell of vicious powder at every shot,
His fallen friends, the disturbed erupting rubble
At each bomb blast!
The truck pulled lazily away,
Grumbling at the load: a hoarde of weary fighters
Hope and ammunition spent, with hunger double bent;
Pulling sorry faces, Shakespeare could not have imagined better!
But under those scarred wrinkled overgrown brows
Flickered in their searching eyes
Some hope, hope of home comfort.
The truck plodded lazily on;
They chanted: one dead song it was;
Like ten drunkards at an opera.
Oh, but for the fallen, how much better it would have been!
Those memories plunged into his dud brain,
Digging tears from his stone-chiselled heart,
But he fought back; a soldier does not cry.
I wave my blistered hand before my bleeding face,
Waving gunpowder smoke and blood fumes in the mist
To see the survivors, to see hope.
But all I see is crushed bones and leaking skulls;
All around the steaming tarmac lie lifeless lads,
Lost lives fill the air with more choking tears.
But we can’t cry now!
“Run! Run! Before they cast another bomb on us!”
I’m on my feet, staggering forward like an alcohol keg,
Surprised to be running alone to the porous camp shelter;
Oblivious to pain, oblivious to care, I stagger on.
Hoping to get my weapon and answer their fire.
It is then it dawns like a wooden blow on me:
I’m no soldier; they aren’t either!
Infant body parts entangled with women and men’s blood
Litter the town square, and I’m staring at the military shelter:
A wooden icecream stand with holes on the whole frame,
And blood , and burnt flesh reeking in the foetid smoke;
And… I break into tears.