War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

the long wait

they wait. we wait. there is no such thing as the slide into home base.
in war. every second, every breath, every step counts.

at KAF Captain says to me, “you never quite get used to it possibly being your last breath on earth”. then the sirens go off for rocket attack practice. or the real thing.

yesterday, a letter from a mother. in the next Roto her son boarding the Herc, the whirly birds. to land in desert. to take the place of D & S & J & M & A & D & B & T & T-man & now a G… (the ones I’ve come to know). the band of brothers/sisters sweating it out. not blinking. even for a second. though months of seconds have seeded little IEDs in all their senses. and they’re so god damned tired. and they’re so god damned old before they hit 30 years of age. or whatever.

I saw the country they stroll for only seconds it seems. but I feel it still within me. unexpectedly. the heat of a November sunrise. late harvest. the shaking of almond trees.

I hear laughter. recall the silence eery in an army camp of infantrymen, artillery. the cleaning of guns. the soldier cradling a wild pup in his arms. the night before the first big Op. his fellow soldiers gathered around the light of Lt. D’s laptop, a electronic hearth. I remember officers in the CP studying plans. the CO driving in. his LAV. and I remember his Henry Vth speech back in Canada. I actually witnessed it put to test.

and in my body sometimes I remember the fear I experienced before flying outside the wire. “now you know how the soldiers feel” says MCpl. A when I told her I couldn’t do it. then J talked me down and into the Chinook.

and 2 days ago the thud. the terrible thud of the IED. fucking fucking IED. wires and cheap electronic shit. knit like some horrible cottage industry arts and crafts.
and it shudders through all of us. families. friends. strangers. country. it cracks a crater in some family’s life. huge gaping. unfillable.

and I get down. but I remind myself. always always remember. they soldier on. that’s no cliché. they really do.

and I’ve learned this from them. even when I know them. even when I know where they are. don’t blink. don’t lose courage. keep up morale. Charlie Mike, and all that… continue mission.

and as the mother who wrote to me yesterday said, “onward” hoping to give me courage. she bids own her son farewell. Insha’Allah” not for the last time.


About This Page

The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled the long wait. It was posted here on April 13, 2010.

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