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Friday, February 03, 2006

STOP, STOP . . .

by Thomas D. Reynolds

Killing two men is bound to affect you.
Even if it's war and your orders are to eliminate.
Your hands, chapped from the cold, grip the rifle,
not an extension of your arms as advertised,
but a foreign ribbon of steel you find in your hands
as if surprised again and again when you look down.
In your mind, you plead for them to stop, stop,
and even your lips mouth the words, fogging the scope.
Don't they know you can see them among the weeds,
detect the scrape of their knees against the rocks?
That a munitions dump, even a small one,
would be guarded by at least one soldier
so plagued by insomnia his hand shakes?
A calloused finger, black from smoke, if given time
and provocation, will find its mark. And not only find it,
but obliterate it, as per its orders, beyond recognition.

Thomas D. Reynolds received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University, currently teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, Flint Hills Review, The MacGuffin, The Cape Rock, The Pedestal Magazine, Eclectica, Strange Horizons, Combat, 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, and Ash Canyon Review.