Elegy for a Soldier by Will Hemmer

Red-heavy photo of silhouetted figures
Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

In the pulsing heat,
in the black cathedral of war,
the amber-tinted silver
of infra-red
illuminates a man.
Nimble in the moment
between the squeeze of the trigger
and the crack of the rifle,
he crouches and fires:
stalker and stalked at one
in the fluttering night.

the breath still held,
a song arises, unbidden and sweet,
and the pulsing heat and the heart conspire
to draw from the murmuring air
an echo, smiling,
of a fond face.

Drawn on the rim
of this well of resonance
in the foul, sweltering dark,
other forms come forth, insistent,
trembling too
for song.

But tensing toward them,
at the start of recognition,
the ragged edge of hope,
his heart bursts,
the song dies.

Will Hemmer
Will Hemmer is a retired college math teacher. After retirement, he produced theatre in Los Angeles until the money ran out.

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