War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

little corner of England (10)

sniper

imagine hide and seek. on Bodman Moor.
heath and gorse, the boys downed
silent, still, October days among granite
Hurlers, falcons, cloud-soaked hills,
they’d play for hours, days, years
learn stalk, learn stealth
to balloon breathe, not to shake,
learn wind, shadow, trajectory,
where is the moon? where is Venus, Mars?
how far, how far, how near footsteps
on squishy peat and moss, the enemy?

I saw him in late spring,
running through St. David’s Station,
running in tans, ruck, his frag with ceramic plates
hooked over his ISAF patch shoulder,
running hard from Chinooks and Hercs and sand,
he ran and ran and ran and ran
stopped a porter for directions, ran again,
alien among slack commuter faces,
shopping bags bursting with cashmere and rags,
girls in badged blazers and Black Watch kilts,
this boy just a few years older than they,

imagine him running back to Bodmin Moor
his first Sunday roast half-eaten,
a plate pushed politely away,
a stab at sticky-toffee pudding,
custard left to skin and spoil—
tinny tastes of blue and pink pills—
ragged wallpaper, cutlery,
bus breaks sound like incoming.
imagine him running to Bodmin Moor
razor-wired shadows, his pals,
hide and seek he’ll see them
the boys in deserts, tans,
they’re running, running
in Afghanistan, so alive,
grainy black and white,
the boys alive, so still.


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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled little corner of England (10). It was posted here on October 11, 2011.

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