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And at night the sound of gunfire
shapes my dreams,
strobing images of blood
and nameless bodies lying broken
where they were thrown.
Thick smoke scrapes across my eyes
and carries the smell
of blackened flesh
deep into my lungs where
not even the cheap cigarettes
can displace it.

My body stiff, my movements slow
from too many hours
of walking, always walking,
tense and twitching,
wondering if the droning plane
was one of ours,
waiting to hear if the screeching shell
was coming for us
or for them…
and dreading the answer.

None of us were cowards
but we were all
afraid to die
in a land where we didn’t belong.
And though I made it home
breathing, outwardly intact,
no-one sees that I
am still on patrol,
a permanently curled finger
looking for a trigger.

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