Shalimar

BarbedWireThey said we were fine men,
we had fired blanks in simulated conditions,
ran our guts out on sharp inclines,
crawled in mud decked with barbed wire.

They said we were ready for battle,
to do our country proud, and one day,
we found ourselves stacked in a three-tonner,
its canvas fighting the speed of winter,

the faces were nervous, just as the fingers
on the trigger – the steel’s nip bullets in,
then, on a rutted road winding up a hill,
the truck paused to eject us quietly.

In the ink-blue light of dawn,
rifles on alert, we began to pan through
the blighted land; with our reason rendered
comatose, we went to war with our own.

Nobody saw the apple orchard shiver
as hell arose to tease the idea of heaven.

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