Nancy L. Meek


The moment of impact, his head jolted back,
his grin erased, revolting me to the core,
I had found the courage I thought I lacked
but no relief like I thought I would before.

I looked around at all the other guys,
wondering if they, too, had felt the same
at that moment of impact, when their eyes
beheld their first kill in this bloody game.

Welcome to manhood! Farewell to the boy!
Your youth and innocence are forever lost.
Put one foot in front of the other. Oh, joy!
Don’t dwell too long on the total cost!

Think of your nation, your wife, your child,
your humble abode back in the world.
Control your emotions! Don’t let them run wild!
Think of your flag and its colors unfurled!

You did it for them, so they might enjoy peace
and you’ll do it again till you can finally go home,
where things taken-for-granted bring sweet release
like freedom from plodding this treacherous loam.

You are the man! You are indeed the man!
Just keep repeating that in your mind today.
Just hope and pray they can understand
when that moment of impact pulls you away.

Hopefully, they’ll appreciate you when you return,
pat you on the back and exclaim, “Well done!” –
gaze deep into your eyes; see what you learned
that moment of impact…final peace for at least one.