Mike Subritzky

A CIGARETTE COMRADE
(NZATMC AP Lima 1980: Rhodesian War)

A cigarette comrade –
before I die
my face is torn
and my eyes are gone
but if you hold it to my lips
I can still draw the flame.

It matters not comrade –
that we are foe
I’m comfortable here
in your hospital tent
quietly bleeding into the dirt below.

Forgive me comrade –
if I call my mother’s name
but it’s so lonely here
on your hospital floor
and it helps me with the pain.

You weep for me comrade –
please don’t be sad
the cowbells sound
I hear the doves
it is a good day for my life to end.

The butt is sodden comrade –
and I leave you now
goodbye my friend
until we meet again
far, far away from this African hell.