to war

we boarded our transport
a capable hulk of road-worthy metaland rubber
behind schedule but ahead of the sun
which stayed hesitantly hiding
behind overcast cloud cover
a solemn silver mask bathed the day
in dullness, lulling us in our sleep deprivation
attempting to convince us
we were not in fact heading off
potentially to our deaths

we disembarked at the spot
away from everywhere I recognized
and they told us to gather under
a white tarpaulin
the sun still hid, even though
the day was growing fatter

others like us were there already
suited up
the terror in their eyes
already giving over to feelings of
inflated empowerment
our own terror was still fresh
and present

they had uniforms of black
armor and boots, gloves and padding
all black
and hard and not mine
however, they told us the uniforms
were ours
they had our names tagged to them
so I supposed they were mine

we put on the black uniforms
we needed help adorning certain pieces
the folks who told us to gather
under the tarp came back
to check on us
and then told us to go to another tent
and collect our helmets and guns

the gun was strapped to my arm
I didn’t know how to fire it
but the man in the tent told me
don’t worry
it will work fine
just point it at the enemy

I didn’t know where the enemy was
or supposed to be
but I just followed the men
in front of me
they didn’t know where to go
either

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One thought on “to war

  1. Sam you may want to read the short story The Things They Carried. It is a terrific piece I found in an older Anthology of Best American Short Stories. Your poem reminded me of it. It is about the things soldiers carried with them into battle. -MichMan

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