I felt nothing at first.
Just the loud crack of a distant whip, the echo
Bouncing through the crumbling streets and fetid alleyways,
Painted with the stench of unintentional sacrifices
And scorched by the Middle Eastern sun.
He can see me, this one, even now,
Staring down the lens like a wayward sailor scanning distant rocks for Sirens,
Tempting him to death.
He’s watching me crumble to the blistering ground,
My skull cracks at the impact. I feel the warmth running from my ears
As I baptise the dust. He must be watching, even still,
Assessing the state of his kill;
Am I still moving? Am I still breathing?
A foreigner in his lands is ripe for picking, he’ll say,
As he recollects the bounty of his day.
And all around will praise him for the win,
I was trespassing, they’ll say.
And I got what I deserved.
I guess they’d be right, it might be my error
To be here in a world that is not mine.
Branded a ‘terror’ but I’m not here by choice,
My voice is not heard when the generals of war jab at maps
Perhaps a lapse in their pointing has landed me here,
They should be more precise,
Like the man that is watching me, still.
His finger no doubt on the trigger, no mistakes,
He’ll figure me out before long
And know I am down but not done
As I lay here and burn in the afternoon sun.
A flash of light from the rooftops gives him away
But I cannot move, he’s watching me, still
Trying to confirm his kill.
He’s a smart one, clever sod, not mindlessly gunning
At anything running through the streets to which now
He is god.
Funny though how it transpired,
So tired now, the heat no longer burns my skin,
It’s thin, like a warm dusk choked by thick cloud.
Not long left for me I think, I should shift
But he’s still there, and he won’t move on
Until my stench fills the air in this meridian sun.
He’s won, of course that much is clear
But the blood running thick from my ear
Is the same as his, is it not?
It would clot if I’d been just a little more careful,
An inch to the left perhaps?
Not that I’d know anyway. It’s unseen.
At eighteen, you don’t really understand the madness of war
Do you? It’s true, so my father says anyway.
‘You’ll soon learn’ he said ‘as the bullets fly overhead’.
A second whip crack soon stops me
He was wrong though, my dad.
All I learned is that you don’t really feel anything,