Doug Soderstrom

A SOLDIER’S LAMENT

Home,
Thank God,
I am home at last.

A return to sanity,
And the security of knowing,
That I am home.

An opportunity to begin anew,
To rebuild a life,
Once torn apart.

Nevertheless constrained, even forced,
To recall the memories… the feelings,
Of yet another time.

The agonizing reality of having had to battle an enemy,
One that I never knew,
One that I never even wanted to know.

Thinking back,
About all of those moments,
The choices I seemingly had to make.

The orders,
To shoot and to kill,
My enemy.

Some inanimate object on the horizon,
An outline, a moving target,
A human frame… “but certainly not a human being.”

Squinting eyes,
Peering through crosshairs,
Ready to fire upon my foe.

Flickering,
Conscience,
Subdued.

Triggered discharge,
Fired missile,
Shouldered recoil.

No blood, no guts,
No sounds,
No movement.

Just the cold and dreary silence,
Of knowing that I did a job,
That had to be done.

But once again,
I am,
Home.

No more officers ordering to kill,
No more bombs “bursting in air,” … yet without my comrades,
An always-soothing palliative aimed to calm the soul.

But now as a man,
Not as an innocent child frightened by what might someday be,
But rather as a soldier tortured by what once was.

Sitting and starring with conscience in hand,
Asking the single, most fundamentally-haunting, question of my life,
Why?

Part 3 of the Trilogy: Militaris Inhumanitas