march on, soldier

the drums are loud.
so is our breathing.
our hollow eyes, our hollow heart,
beating in time
with the hollow dreams
and our breathless breaths.

dirt and grime clings
to everything.
to our clothes, our shoes,
our hearts, our eyes,
our tears that fall
as our friends fall.

we arrived, joyous and loud,
fifty five of us,
baby-faced, fresh breaths,
worn soldiers looked with sadness,
we didn’t understand.

we left, somber and weary,
twenty of us,
old-faced, dwindling breaths,
meeting the new recruits with bitterness
they didn’t understand.

the drums follow me home,
back to a wife who doesn’t understand,
back to a house that is too empty,
and i dream,
of fires, of hollow eyes, rasping breaths,
the booms of the cannons,
popping of guns,
and i dream.

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