We lie in our fighting holes,
in the sweltering Afghan night,
arrayed like the graves our enemies dig.
We dream of home’s simplicity,
of girlfriends and mothers waiting,
yellow ribbons on countless trees adorned.
Rude war interrupts our sleep,
as mortars thump in the near distance,
walking closer like an invisible giant.
A boy with a box died today.
He wouldn’t stop and put it down.
It was a doll for his youngest sister.
Sometimes I wake up shouting,
but I am not the only one with nightmares.
The lieutenant issues pills to make them go away.
I am an unwilling killing machine,
for I need the G.I. bill to pay for college,
so I can escape the ghetto my government made.
Corporal Xerxes lost his legs last week,
to a Taliban man with a grenade launcher,
the Captain had to order us to stop return fire.
I’m going to heaven when I die,
as my faith in God has not yet been shaken,
and because I have already been to Hell.