old soldier’s gather at the pubs;
drinking fire water to be forgotten.
The men speak in broken tongues
and christened words
about all that was
They swallow libations for
our future and the memory of our past.
A lame soldier enters this coven,
younger than most,
a gun at his side, a knife in his heart.
by the chemicals in his veins,
the voices in his head.
The old men toast his good fortune.
“The warrior has arisen and come back a man of honor!”
He takes count of the fallen
the damaged man
no longer remembers who he was.
This lame warrior now recognizes
that which was always before him for the first time.