The Hireling

Applications are being waited on
for the position of mercenary
or now rather security consultant

to with and for the Americans
help to make
Afghanistan and Iraq tame.

Jannie from bush war
and Angola fame
applies to go

and he is selected
with a group of special soldiers
that stand separate from the others smoking

who can parachute
and take life
in diverse ways

and in secret he gets on a plane
that stands on Waterkloof air force base
and takes off in a northeastern direction.

The pay is good
and US-dollar strong
and it’s a fixed job

that he can find nowhere in his own country
and for a while
Jannie is very happy

for being able to give money to Sannie
to buy food
and small Jan can get rugby boots.

His blue eyes cuts
day after day through people
to try and identify terrorists

but how do you really know
who is carrying a bomb
and who wants to die for his faith?

There are many things
that the Americans learn from him
and he from them,

but while on leave
he is in the bath on the third storey
of a hotel in Baghdad

and an Arabic woman and child
walks into the lobby
and she smiles shyly beyond her veil

and a bomb explodes
that nearly kills him
and cuts his legs off
and confused the world turns around him.

by Gert Strydom

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