Searching

Pain
can be your friend
if you don't mind
being
a lonely
melancholy
alcoholic.

Not that anyone asked,
but I'm going to write
about
my greatest pain.

It wasn't
lying on the battlefield
both my hands
covered with blood
and
me not knowing
where it all
was coming from.

It wasn't that.

It wasn't
freezing on Highway One
with tracers whipping by,
me unable to move
as I listened
to the wounded
and their screams.

It wasn't that.

It wasn't
administering first aid
to a gut-shot boy
who died
despite my frenzied efforts
to save him.

It wasn't that.

It was
an 8-year-old-girl
staring at me
with
hatred
because
her older sister
had just been
consumed
by that fuckin' war,
and the 8-year-old,
once my friend,
now despised me
because
she thought
it was my fault.

But it wasn't.

 

(first published in "The Veteran ")



© Paul Hellweg. All rights reserved.