At night,
it needn't be a winter night, just
night, past
any kind of wakefulness,

past every kind of future tense,

there comes a time and time and time of ragged,
red concentric squares. And blue. And dirty white.
My hands, like rough and hasty Salisbury rubbings
interrupted, resumed, abandoned,

meat hands.
First rank, only good for gas and shrapnel.

Opening fusilade, I catch a bullet in the throat,
I catch a piece of grapeshot in the cheek and brain,
I snare a fragment of mortar shell with my guts

and, still, the second rank goes down. Useless meat
torso, meat hands, useless

meat. Sun

rise, the colour of the whites of my failures.

JDP 98/05

Copyright John D Porter © 1998

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