20 January 2008

And In The Night The Voices Claim My Ears

I look around to empty spaces,
vacant places; my memories
still cling to voices gone with
faces indistinct. Just a teen in

olive green, an SLR, a bandolier
and two grenades. My jungle
hat saw better days. I recall the
crushing heat, the aching feet

and battle sound we learned
to fear or disregard – the only
sounds that mattered were the
pungent cracks of rifle rounds

impacting in our space – the
cry “incoming” and a race to
cover or a safer place. I wasn’t
brave, I peed my pants, stank

just like the rest indeed – but
now they’re gone. The fear
remains and in the night the
voices claim my ears.

I sleep because I take the pills
that ease the pain – replacing
mates whose names I might
recall before I fall asleep.
© 20 December 2007, I. D. Carswell