A poem inspired by Jess's experience.
Shade it Black
Across the gunfire, beneath a truck,
flashes light up my collection.
The explosion has done its job,
Oh God how it has done its job!
I must do mine.
How dare they say we are trained,
there is no training to prepare you for this...
Same boots, same belt,
It could be me, it could be me.
I wish it was me.
His pain over, mine just begun.
Feeling inept I lay there motionless, what do I do?
I do nothing, nothing.
A nearby shell shocks me. I start clawing out
at the burnt meat, grabbing all I can see....all I can smell.
Quickly, quickly, get this over with.
No fear. Pure anger.
Body bag partly full I drag myself out.
The Unit greet the old me. She doesn’t exist.
She was left behind in the cold shadow of the truck.
Congratulations on a successful mission
Got there before the enemy. Job well done.
I ignore the high five............
The light falls upon the open bag.
They are also quiet.
A half-finished jigsaw
the marine lays on the table,
We stare at the spaces the bomb has left behind.
I shade these in black on the paperwork.
The inventory begins.
His pockets full of life,
‘Rules of engagement’ neatly folded,
scrunched up trash that didn’t become litter,
a picture of smiles from his high school football team,
a half-full bottle of Blue Star ointment
from his bloodied breast pocket slips a sonogram of a foetus.
The silence now louder.