by Thomas D.J. Maynard
Behind these wet cardboard walls
We are safe for just a moment,
But cardboard and bullets don’t
Get along so well most times.
My brother’s face is tired
And drawn beyond his thirteen years.
Burns stain his once smooth cheeks,
But I am not much better.
“How many are there?” he pants.
My sweaty hands fumble now
On the scope’s slick dial.
Soldiers caress their guns and grin,
Their macabre guffaws like sick jokes
where our blood is the punchline.
Like taunts in a child’s war game,
daring us to come and play.
The question weighs in the air
How many before the gate?
My eyes water, choked by soot.
They haven’t glimpsed us, not yet.
But I see them clearly now.
The scope clatters to the dirt,
and I clutch my brother close.
“Make a wish,” I whisper.
Thirteen, and one for good luck.
Thomas D.J. Maynard has a hearty love for coffee, beer, poutine, and a good science fiction story. By day, he repairs and installs computers in Northern CT school systems, and by night, he repairs and installs computers at his home in Mansfield, Connecticut.