Starting a new career as a teacher

by | Mar 21, 2012 | Poetry | 0 comments

“Have you ever killed anyone?” They ask,
with the innocent naivety of youth.
“What do you think?” I reply, smiling quietly.
But indeed, what is the truth?

Have I ever killed anyone? Let’s think…

In the dark and dusty, neon-tinted streets of Basra
I shot at men who shot at me.
But did my own fizzing tracer beat that of those who fired faster?
I doubt anyone could see.

Have I ever killed anyone?

I certainly played a part in causing their demise
by giving orders for Air to ‘drop’.
The enemy, portrayed in sepia tones through God-like eyes,
saw death’s shadow as time stopped.

Have I ever killed a man?

I cheered as the screen flashed… then showed the pall of smoke.
Grinning, I reported, “Good strike!”
More sepia men ran on… then froze. Muted cries were choked
As they stared in silent plight.

Have I ever killed a man?

I’ve called for artillery support, and AH and Air
To pound Afghan compounds ahead.
But God only knows how many lived or died up there –
They’re quick to recover their dead.

Have I ever killed a man?

How about in Mitan where the Imam wept tears of gratitude
As we provided medical support?
His son was killed by a mortar when militia attacks renewed,
In response to our involvement.

Have I ever killed a man?

The men who died beside me, or through my orders, plans and commands…
Was I not responsible for them?
But could I’ve changed the outcome? Was this not the enemy’s hands?
I know not who the dead would blame.

“Have you ever killed anyone?” They ask;

Not imagining the process they trigger.
“Yes, I suppose I have.” I think.
“Do your work.” I say quietly,
“That’s hardly relevant here.”


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