Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 18 . . .
 

Soldier

     by Brigita Orel



Staring at the darkened sky

I can almost keep up the pretense

of being home, but the stray dogs

and the men’s snores keep me awake

in my rocky grave, thinking

of the many times I kissed women

I shouldn’t have but never feeling

as unfaithful to you as when I hug

my heavy gun close to my chest.


The shadow of death trails behind us

even on overcast days, it dims

the image of home until I can barely

recall the memory of you. I’m not alone,

just lonely as a sky without birds.


Explosions outshine the stars

night after night, the thunder

brings bloody rain. Amid the hot fumes

of oil and tire I dream — sometimes awake —

of new-mown grass, cicadas and homemade cakes.

Is it springtime back home? I forget.


Staring at the clouds, I begin to see

camels and minarets, rarely any

familiar shapes. There may be something

to Rorschach, after all. It feels like I inhabit

the life of a stranger, like my breath

powers a force that isn’t entirely me.


Days old, sun-dried sweat begins

to sting on the parched skin,

the shamal whips up the sand

lashing us with vicious shower until

my mouth becomes a desert too.


I’m not afraid, just doubtful sometimes.

They say this is for real, the generals,

and that we are going to win,

but when I feel that rush I never

expected to feel, it’s all less real,

like a game on my home console

where the enemy is just a machine,

a faceless algorithm that can only

lose or win. Out here, it feels

like there’s so much more in between.










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Brigita Orel 's recent publications include short stories and poems in Rose & Thorn Journal, Autumn Sky Poetry, BluePrintReview, Foundling Review, The Storm at Galesburg anthology, and others. She lives in Slovenia, where she works as a literary translator. You can read her blog at: bsoulflowers.blogspot.com.


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© 2010 Brigita Orel