by Jacob Paul Patchen
On this green, issued, sweat stained cot, in
salt-stiff desert cammies, I drip words from my
pores, like blood from shrapnel wounds.
It … is hot. And thoughts of you steam my blood.
To say goodbye to smiles in a pile of pictures …
is prison. But, here, there are no visiting
hours; no holiday breaks to touch your skin.
I am captive in this foreign land; a slave to a
unit number; a digit in a media war. I am a piece
of paper to a brass paper weight; filled with training
checkmarks, achievements, and next of kin. No amount
of wind will let me fly.
I am chained in this sand, blindfolded and bound, as useful
as a rotting corpse; without life … without soul.
And I am days away from that kind of death.
Or maybe minutes, or hours, or even the seconds that tick
loudly by on my olive drab, sun faded watch.
I’m writing to say goodbye, because, by now, I have