Mike Subritzky

THE DEAD GUERRILLA
NZATMC – AP Lima: Rhodesian War

They dumped him down at my feet,
gut shot neat, and cold stone dead,
then laid his body in a dusty heap,
beneath the bright green leaves of a Mopami.
Just one more guerrilla for the body count,
in a communist uniform caked in blood,
and the dark red dirt of the Rhodesian veldt,
and the soft warm breeze of an African morning.

“Caught in an ambush.” the Stick Commander said,
as the Fire Force crew did a weapons check,
and rearmed the stick for the next patrol.
“One wounded, one K.I.A. and one bastard got clean away.”
“Not even a fuckin’ AK on him,” the Corporal said,
“just a couple of grenades in his belt.” as we checked his stiffened body,
and took fingerprints for the special branch in Salisbury.

“Strange,” said the Trooper as we turned him over
to roll him in the grave,
“there’s an exit wound in his brain old chap;
I guess a pistol in the mouth sure simplifies the paperwork.”

No more the guerrilla songs, I hummed,
no more the war trail from Zambia,
and no more the freedom fighter for this young man.
Somewhere a Matabele mother’s heart is broken…
but yet she doesn’t know it.