War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

the road

you tell me winter sucked. the rain. the gripped cold.
mud clotted every step. a thousand kilos a boot.

you stuck, slipped. like WWI horses
grainy, silent on tarnished footage.

all the while you covered arcs. each other’s backs.
the flinch. tuberculosis coughs behind village walls.

flood. the stream, a river. the village, a lake. wadis, open cesspools.
everything stank. stank more than the shitpond at KAF on 41 degree celcius days.

in the rain, silence. too much. it unnerved you to hear only rain
on your helmet. nothing was clear. nothing in the right place.

you lived in minefields. ventured out into some crazy whack-a-mole,
bomb hop scotch. but with a mallet, chalk ladder, that were too fucking real.

there were more man-traps than adders in the dead grass.
pomegranate orchards, poppies dead and dying hid old Russian ordinance

crafted too sloppily to go actually work, back in ’81,
Russian landmines still held hunger for limbs and heads.

the dead walked alongside you, whispered,
“one step left brother, you’re gone”

and the rain rained on and on that winter. washed out your leaguer.
your LAV tipped into mold. mildew greened and blued boots, your brain.

then when the sun came, dried everything,
you looked back. not one but five IEDs

waved their wires at you
like the last chick at the party

and you saw exactly where you had stepped and stepped,
right onto bombs, as you patrolled. all winter long.


1 Comment (Closed)

Dave Mallette

We’ve heard the whispers in our ears – spend enough time among the dead and it’s inevitable – anger – relief – confusion – longing to return – we’ve heard their stories – gutteral – parched – unsounding – we’ve felt their presence, leaping in and out of range – dopplering along the line as we watch another brother ride by

SMS – your words cut deep and draw the weeping blood of the 88 I’ve witnessed out of every pore

Jun 08 2010 · 15:30

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled the road. It was posted here on June 05, 2010.

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