Nancy L. Meek


Headed for war, the soldier packs
Prepared to fight if the enemy attacks
Prepared with weapons and tools of his own
To be first to fire a shot into the battle zone.

His training was perfect, his sarge would be proud
He’s learned to kill… to be bold… be loud
He checks his gear… packs his knife… hand gun
His sunscreen he’ll need for his year in the sun

His poncho, indeed, will be good when it rains
Socks… and more socks… again when it rains
His shovel… his bullets… some paper… a pen.
Preparing for when he’ll write home again

Some black cheek paint to shade the sun’s glare
His compass… and socks… just one more pair
One flashlight with batteries… a lighter that lights
Mosquito repellent to ward off the bites

A few photos of loved ones he might miss.
Of his son… so much like him… of his sis
His wife… a love letter to him she penned so fine
He smiles, reading… ‘With Love’ on the bottom line

A red flare to signal to choppers on high
He hopes they will see it… he packs with a sigh
Why does it have to come down to this
Kill or be killed… still he studies his list

His toiletries… a hand grenade… his civvies
Shrugging, he adds two pair of skivvies
And the packing goes on in spite of his fear
As he hears the death knell ringing in his ear

His cold M-16… held tightly in his hand
Visions of fighting, dying on foreign land
And he stares hard… dreaming of the day
He might empty the case… throwing it all away

Submitted for the August 2001 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “The Empty Suitcase