Nancy L. Meek

PERSISTENT AGONY

Inches in front of you, a machine gun beats the grass,
mowing down a path, the rapid chatter lost in the din.
Spying the force behind the bullets, you quickly react…
On automatic, you create space where his face had been.

Then suddenly you spin, hearing an ominous thump,
as one of your own rolls over, growling… screaming
from an exploding grenade leaving generous red stumps
where legs once grew and bore a valiant soldier… dreaming.

With knife in hand, on sore and blood-soaked knees,
you rip his filthy fatigues to stop the spurting blood.
As he slips into shock, you brave his fervent pleas
begging you to stop the hurting… praying you could.

But, no matter how hard you try, he does not survive;
and each night the agony won’t let go of you again
watching him wrestle to stay alive… then begging to die
locked in your arms… a death match you never win.