He cried and brokenly confessed, I lied,
and all those years my dreams were
torment by his pleading mouth, bright
blood bubbling wordlessly, accusing.
I lied because it was so useless
how he died, killed by freakish chance,
a flash of movement in the corner
of an eye, a frantic trigger.
Alas, malevolent bullets
know no friend or foe
and unleashed go with
unseemly haste true to destiny.
He died while we waited for Casevac
in shock, dumbfounded by the enormity –
we had killed a comrade
were scared for our lives.
And while we waited the black-clothed
enemy attacked. We fought with disbelief,
then anger, they’d sensed our grief
sought to kill us easily.
In the battle’s aftermath, wits
regained, I reported his wounding
and death in the first moments
of that exchange.
The gunner who squeezed
the trigger ending his life,
sick with remorse, cried
his choke-voiced thanks.
Now I, too, need peace denied.
Please release me from my dreams.
© I.D. Carswell