in extremis

khmer-rouge-genocide-v4

I thought I caught a glimpse of me coming back
the other way, a phantom of me somewhere from the future
in a tunnel white with dust, heavy in a veil of blood.

Going this way there is no past. I focus on the boots in front
heels kicking up the sand stone and goat shit,
almost laughing I choke, the voices in the distance sound killable.

Up ahead the sky is flashing white through yellow
the crump comes seconds later, 
somewhere a barrel is smoking and a life is gone.

Never more alive than close to death,
let me touch it let me feel the void,
I’m ready to take the sweeping scythe.

How many times did we leap its dripping blade?
or turn a corner one block early to live another day,
then hear the stories of the dead who turned the other way.

And did we care? we did not, we revelled in our life,
we shrugged off death.
I saw in your eyes our luck running out,

as I saw them power down when yours ran out,
in the moment I saw you fade, 
I shouted “fuck” then you were dead.

The last sound you heard was me shout “fuck”
I wish I’d shouted something else,
but I shouted that, and you were dead.

I saw myself reflected in a fuselage on the way home,
strapped to a board like an outcast angel 
I shouted “FUCK” at the medic, he shouted “Fuck off” back, we laughed.

At the reception centre I saw my wife’s face in the crowd,
it didn’t feel like home yet,
I felt myself break, right there, right then.

I hope Valhalla is hell for you,
for the quiet of this peace is killing me.

© Wolfgar 2018

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