Deserters


Your kind words
passed cleanly through
my vacant brain
like the dawn's dark chorus.

I was just thinking
of that wall, the blind
fold of final air,
and their sepia uniforms.

My skull smudged
in companionable mud,
I am quite thrilled
to be victimised.

Now our destinies
will be fetchingly etched
in rural stone. Pardon?
I did not hear you.


[July 1998]

From Labour Pangs

306 World War One soldiers shot for cowardice won't be pardoned. But we will be encouraged to see them as "victims".