War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

test

him. him. him. over a year I identified them. e.g., Sgt. J. ya, the gucci über-soldier that crashed the puck into the net. over and over again. at the Officers vrs. the Senior NCO’s hockey game at Christmas. the year before they left. the year when all of them we’re still alive and laughing. all the young enlisted men cheering in the stands as Sgt. J. dished out heavy body checks. sent Lt. W flying, Capt. S into the boards. the CO sweating. outplaying everyone. knowing it’s part of his job description to be despised. knowing everyone’s eyes were on him.

ya Sgt. J., he’d be the one who’d keep me safe. alive. in a TIC. for sure. and MCpl. G. and Cpl. Z., Sgt. B (iceman) and…

the stroll, would be left to fate. (our date stamp somewhere invisible. in any case patrol just wasn’t on). a brutal game of IED dodge ball my 13 year old daughter calls A’stan.

and looks can never tell. who is the most checked out (don’t be fooled by talk, suave, the kit). who has got it, no matter how switched on they look in their greens. nor can anyone know who’ll lose nerve. or who’ll step up. who’ll cave when it’s too hot. when the trigger squeeze of thought/reaction for some is too heavy for present or future. and their past is only bloody in their murky heads. not until they’re in tans. inhaling sand. shit. the desert. and there’s incoming from all fronts (the worst being from home).

courage. (*coeur* of the heart) the left right left. the Charlie Mike when the shit seems too much. the ability to suck it up. for others. for ourselves. (and I know a 13 year old, an 84 year old who have a battalion’s worth).

none of us knows how much rollout any of us have. how strong. how broad the back, the step, the load we can carry, for how long. until the test.

and none of us knows what the brother, the sister next to us can carry. until the heat. the shit.

then when it’s over. what’s tough. to forgive the unexpected. the shock, the surprise that the one who bailed was the one everyone always thought was the most solid, accountable. the one everyone turned to. and it’s tough not to despise ones who fail. or worse, the ones who injure us, continue to injure us. sabotage our mission. before we’re done. to dig deep into the earth of some forgiveness.

but that too is a test. and with the test. only time will tell.


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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled test. It was posted here on July 03, 2010.

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