when he comes to you, it leaves trails of blood
across the white snow,
across the frozen forest;
you always thought you’d be the last one fighting,
but it will be he who finds you,
he who runs from his foxhole without thinking,
hooks his arms under yours,
and does not know that his own blood
will create a trail to follow.
come on. come on.
dragging the blood across the clean white snow,
washed out with that other man’s blood, and his, and his.
the medics will wonder what is his
and what belongs to you,
but it ceases belonging to you
the moment he lifts you up.
there is no grave prepared for you,
he doesn’t hear the explosions rocking the forest,
only your cries for help.
he came here with you and he’s going to leave with you,
even if all that’s left is packages sent home
to your mothers.
you remember him always near you:
arm hooked around yours as you stumbled up the mountain;
head on the bunk opposite yours as the atlantic
stretched itself between home and your waiting triumph,
when the only thing you left unsaid but understood
was that not even the world consumed by smoke and fire
could be enough to keep you from finding each other.
now, still clinging to his shoulders
as the shrapnel lands around you,
this is the closest you will ever be to any human,
the point at which the glory of brothers in arms
ceases as quickly as the exploding shells
and all you’re left with is the quiet, bloody heartache
of the open mouths that no crying can escape from.
he knew the pain before he ran to you
not what it was but that it was,
and it is with you like a third body
as he carries you through the white snow
and the red snow where the trail is still wet,
and he holds onto you when the trees
come crashing down,
and then he understands it.
lay us side by side, © caroline k (please don’t repost/use without permission)