Paying The Price

awaking to the sounds of distance cries
feeling an awkward pause before getting up
stretching out the aching muscles
placing the feet on the cold hard ground
turning to see the fellow comrades
trying to escape the thoughts of loss

so many of us have come here
but not so many will leave here
there are no joyous memories
everything clouded with a foggy despair
suiting up while feeling alone
fighting the urge to flee
cowardly thinking about the past events

unable to comprehend the reasons why
loading up to move on with the day
emotionless faces scatter the roads
anticipating this to be the last day
the suns heavy rays drowning the body
the senses constantly on edge

movement on the horizon
a fear suddenly rushes through the veins
heart pounding, hair rising, tremors
a cloud of dirt and debris rising up
everyone running into the broken silence
trained for but not prepared

there is no time to think just act
looking around to make sure everyone made it through
head hung low in disbelief
packing it up, and moving out
sitting in an unforgiving silence
returning to where the morning began

removing the heavy load off the shoulders
carrying the memory of the event
going in and laying down
unable to clear the conscience, never going to forget
knowing tomorrow brings the same outcome
waiting for the call that will release the need

allowing a return to a less chaotic time
remembering the sweet smell of home
drifting into a slumber of old memories
feeling so surreal, only to
awake to the sounds of distance cries, yet again
home is no longer sweet

there is no pleasantries here
only a constant loss of others and self
reeling in all that one can take
pressing forward only by circumstances
holding onto a hope for a safe return
envisioning the arms of someone once loved

praying today is not the last day
so many things left to discover
pushing aside the feelings of hope
picking up the pieces and putting them away
suiting back up and going back out
disillusions of the days past

all the pain swelling up inside
feeling like there will be no end
the sounds and smells that never cease
the unrelenting commands to take out more and more
maybe today is the day to lay down arms and wait
the echoes of the fellows around me

protecting me from the firing onslaught
screaming for me to get with it
reminding me that there is a reason to fight back
unable to let everyone down
lifting up a tired, weak, downtrodden body
pressing forward

by michelle dodd

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