I’ve recently been reading a debut book by Barbara Nickless (Blood on the Tracks). Having thoroughly enjoyed it, I looked at her website which also became a thoughtful and enjoyable experience. Her lead character is Special Agent Sydney Rose Parnell of the railway police, a former marine with Mortuary Affairs. It’s also worth reading ‘Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq’ by Jessica Goodell and John Hearn for real insight into that which we don’t really want to know, the recovery of dead soldiers. I felt rather compelled, I hope no one is hurt or offended…

Ghosts – survivors guilt…

Along the ridge, bit by bit we crawled
Slowly, pinned down by well-equipped rebels
There had been so many of us at first
We were now like a small bunch of pebbles.

There was Al, a baker back in easy street
Who regaled us with tales of his cakes
Who wanted to get home to his wife and kids
As we all did, for Heaven sakes.

He drove us mad sometimes…

Tim, a horologist in the world that was real
Course he mended everyone’s clocks
Got caught on a desert road one day
We just found his watch and his socks.

Time just seemed to stand still for a while…

And there was Jess, at only five foot four
Perhaps the bravest soldier I knew
Got shot to death by sniper fire
After rescuing two of her crew.

We all feared the bloody snipers…

And then there’s me, a corporal in charge
All the officers gone, and Sarge too
I’d like to be home with my poetry books
But there was killin’ work there left to do.

There was no fun in that at all…

Finally we managed to reach an end
Then the drawdown came and we flew
But dead soldiers faces oft haunt me now
As for so many soldiers they do.

Goddamn politicians can’t explain that away…no Sir!

©Joe Wilson – Ghosts – survivors guilt…2016

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