The Hunt, #154

They’ve killed before.

And again,
like bees they sting
until you swat at them
and then spread
amongst the crowd,
only to swarm
as soon as your arms
are down at your side.

The locals know
when the bomb
goes off.

When the bomb
goes off it must’ve
been triggered
within the last hour,
within a few miles.

The only hive
in which to hide
is this shifty
little town, full
of innocents
we’ve flew thousands
of miles to come
and protect.

It’s not us they protect,
but their own self
interest, the bomber
who would kill them
if they were born
to a different sect,
prayed at a separate
mosque, were to rise
up for a moment
and take a lick
of care for their lives
and the lives
of their own children.

I’m tired of caring.
Lance Corporal is dead.

And if these so-called
innocents won’t admit
the wasp that must
be among them,
who we call insurgents
and they label hero,
they are not our friends.
You’re either
with us or against us.

I will give you the chance,
ask nicely first,
but when you
don’t answer
I’ll up the ante.

Your life for a name.

You, and everyone here
can live in peace
if you simply point
to a house, to one
of these huts you call
homes. The one with
the finger
that pulled the trigger.

Lance Corporal is dead.
And for what?

To keep your families
involvement in this slaughter
secret. To keep
your friends safe.

I won’t have it.

I left my wife
and little baby back home
to come here and save you
from a mass murderer,
a killer who slaughtered
his own people, you.

You loved him didn’t you,
you like people who kill you.

Fine. If that’s the only
language you speak
then fine.

Protect your sources,
but pay the price.

My mom used to smack
all three of us kids
to be sure
she got the right one.

I don’t care right now
what they said in training.
I’ll begin with that discipline.
Lance Corporal is dead.

And the killer
is within your midst,
within my reach.

Soon, he, she, it
will be one
of the bodies
laid out in the street.

The bodies in the street,
too many bodies,
who could do
such a horrible thing?

What ogre
or what butcher
was here just an hour
ago, where I stand now,
where my feet
are planted,
my gun smoking?

I miss my wife
and my little baby
back home.

Can I go home
now? Can I lift up
this small body
who must have fallen
down, who lies
limp on this dusty road,
this path of my life
I was hoping to turn
into a college degree
and a good job,
a house, food
to feed my family.

Is that your mommy,
that body lying
face down in the street?

Are those her feet
hanging out
under plastic?

I was going to buy her
a nice set of heels
and a nice dress
to wear out
to a nice dinner
at a fine restaurant.

Can I go home now,
go home and lay
my baby down to sleep?

Lance Corporal is dead.

The bees have come
in swarms again
and swarmed down
out of nowhere
to lift up our nest,
our hive, our home
just off the base
and carry it
to a place far
away, carry me
far away to where
I can’t see my baby,
where they won’t
let her visit.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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