A. L. Breitling

Rookie (02/28/66 / Tennessee)


Poem by A. L. Breitling

With my heart in my hand,
I thought I was asking, not giving;
that you were offering, not taking;
and that this thing we call living
might, for a moment, not be a twisted game.
Same as every other time, I thought my hand was empty,
that yours was filled,
that the hollowness I felt was me
making room for something coming in,
not me shifting self about to cover something
going out.
Send me a soldier.
Send me a soldier.
Divorced from fortune and from fate,
give me a moment to make my face
into a mask of anonymity,
that way I can be the enemy, and you can rout
the thing in me which makes you doubt your sanity.
Maybe it was me, insisting that my hand was empty;
showing you the something there,
and describing it as nothing. Where was my head;
what was I thinking; what was my mind about,
being out there all in front,
for anyone in the world to see?
Send me a soldier.
Give me a shoulder, an arm, and a throat,
so you can cry, hold on and strangle me without
the obligation of seeing eye to eye to eye to eye.
Or, perhaps, I should just avert my head,
so you can go on pretending that the thing you see
is something dead, dissolved to dust, annihilated
before you got there. After all,
my hand is empty; I was simply reaching for the door.
Send me a soldier.
Send me a soldier,
because I can’t be one anymore.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, October 8, 2005

Poem Edited: Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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