Robert Hensler

Rookie (July 27 1934 / Manhattan, NYC, NY)

Trench - Poem by Robert Hensler

Trench



I kneel as he has ordered me to on the side of the trench the construction crew bulldozed earlier this week. The three man crew – two young privates and a corporal in charge – lounge quietly by the side of their bulldozer as they await their order to refill this newest trench. Afterward, of course.

I would like to avoid looking down into the trench to see who’s here. Neighbors. Some friends. Some enemies. Some relatives. Loved ones. Hated ones. Endured ones. All of them now so still precious to me.

When their bullets came, one at a time, back of the head, delivered by a corporal who was bucking for sergeant, some of them grunted. Others sighed. Or cried. Screamed. All finally died.

No one yelled at God. Not out loud anyway. I had - have - my bag with me as I wait in the line. My bag filled with books. Cream of the crop of Western and Eastern thinkers. Books. All filled with conclusions about things that don’t ever seem to conclude.

Matthew Mark Luke And John. Torah rah BOOM dee ay.

The cold gray sky. The shattered trees. The smell of diesel oil and offal coming from yesterday’s trench. Carefully bulldozed afterward as this one will be.

When I feel the bullet go deep into my head my heavy bag disappears. Like everything else.

Yelling at God seems now just silly as asking why.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 1, 2010

Poem Edited: Sunday, February 14, 2010


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