Soldiers

by Renwick Berchild

And he blows his head open, because he is in the army; he does not
want to go back. He makes it clear.

I was his friend, when he was alive and in high school.
I am his friend again, now that he is gone and fading.

He interrupted me, everyday, as I would sit eating meals, in various
locations he would interrupt me, abruptly interjecting
as an eager puppy pounces on food freshly fallen on the kitchen floor.

Rude, but affable; I was tolerant back then. He played a lot of chess,
so I’d assumed most things were strategy to him.

He lied a lot, but so did I.
He denied a lot, but so did I.
He made a pass once, but, I was confident, even back then.
He said he hated his face, but, didn’t we all?

And now he’s just another dead. I put him on the shelf with all the rest.
With grandparents, neighbors, others who committed suicide, he sits
as a totem for the imperceptible storms to come.

An uncle who was seized by an aneurysm.
Drunk boys who drove a car too fast and collided into a streetlight.
Girl who gave up her heart by jumping, and hit the rocks, hard.

He still interrupts. I blow open, each day, it never fails.
All exposed bones singing
like a choir, clinking and ca-lacking hymns of possible ways

I might yet be put into the ground. I cannot know.

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