Not Just the Snow

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Not Just the Snow – © 2020 Patrick Canganelli.

I am going off to war
to a far place.
I have never been
away from my village.
well here I am.
the sun is the same
but nothing else is recognizable.
we have our orders
and we begin to ascend the hillside
we are to engage the enemy—
what enemy?
how can a foe be someone I’ve never seen?
progress is slow
trudging through this incline of rock
and newly fallen snow.
a sharp whistle
rings through the air,
I cannot breathe.
I fall without warning
my legs have left me
I turn to get up
but I cannot
I see my blood pour into the snow
sounds are faint
and
I am growing cold
the air is thin.
I cannot tell you
how I wish I were home
next to the hearth
while you carefully place the trivet.
I try to breathe
my chest gurgles
your beautiful hair
the smell of scones
my brothers charging all around me now
that strange whistle again
a soft thud near me
oh the fragrant tea
if it could warm me now
you’re humming old favorite aires.
why am I here
I forget
did I ever know?
how was our love
not enough?
it was for us.
I cannot keep the tears away
I am thinking of you,
after all
I am here to ‘keep
our way of life’
to shutter you from
the hate
and aggression,
but I have failed,
my day was lost
before I hit the snow
if I could but kiss your face…
instead I see the lights going out
all around me
friends are falling
how will we keep
the world safe
I hear faint crunching boots
but I am weak,
my face is pressed into the cold
at their feet.
will I see you again
my love?
my prayer is whispered
faint swirls of vapor barely escape
my lips,
a quick sip of tea
and I will gather with my fallen comrades.
so when I’m gone,
please keep me in your heart,
for not just the snow has fallen.

© 2020 Patrick Canganelli, All rights reserved.
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