The soldier was not in a familiar arena,

And very darkness deep in someone else’s,

Whip-like aware of dwindling defenses.

The indifferent heat would be his undoing–

Almost visible the tongue of steam.

He was itching in the undergrowth,

Twitching with the expect,

Capital Fear at what’s next.

Bugs—festering, brilliant, myriad,

All fucking over him, and catastrophic loud,

Seemingly ignorant in this fetid shroud.

The various smashes of sound were unnerving.

If an enemy could be defined,

What was the enemy behind?

Alone he was alone he was alone.


He was sure in youth he knew despair.

Now derision at such nonsense etched him crookedly.

What was that despair?

The glee of heart-break?

Some inconsequential waif waving get lost?

Bitter, bitter this particular chocolate.


This used to be sticks! He shouted in silence.

We hid behind rocks!

It was Ollie “Speeder” Finch

And Tim the moron down the street,

And the soldier smiled as only a soldier can smile.

But here sticks were dirty mean, underhanded.

Wooden pieces waiting to betray—

Stop progression, snap as he ran.

Traitors all, he thought.


Yet another traitor snap and now the enemy fired.

A thud of pain found his back,

Grew aching fingers further up his spine.

The soldier paused while buckling.

Had he been shot—had he been gotten?

Messy confusion, regret, rotten.

The ground was kindly there

To catch his endless descent.

He was shuddering, shuddering.

Blood sputtering, sputtering.

Then he heard foot-falls, determined.

Someone was closing the deal.

Even now, clichés from another planet.

Knowledge seeping, seeping.

Mr. Black creeping, creeping.


His ender approached and up looked the soldier,

Ready for this moment of which he had dreamed,

For which he had bravely braced.

But this was not his reverie,

Did not belong to him.

The fiend who had sent the bullet was smiling.


The soldier had imagined righteousness—

A knowing recognition—

A meaningful glance exchanged between fighting men.

A solemn, but proud moment in death.




Vicious, Vicious the foe he faced.

Sardonic, haughty, eager to witness one more.

He reached for anger but only got disgruntled.

So this was bloody it.

Valor and honor gone to shit.

What of beauty in this fading gray?

What of an angel at the end of his day?

Stupid smile on a stupider enemy who would remain unadvised of same.


Death was not unkind, just vilely disappointing.

He stared at his enemy while vaguely dying,

Duly noted the raised gun butt,

Understood the pristine intent.

A rather large Alas.

Maybe Tim was not the moron.