The Grudge

There is no way to describe through
Words, no way to replicate
The feeling that you feel
As you roll out the front gate,
Crew silent, into the battle space
On a quick-reaction mission to
The site of a U.S. casualty.

The feeling in the air different,
The common sense of unspoken hushed-urgency
No one is cracking wise, no bullshitting
Like any other mission because it isn’t
Any other mission or any other day.
It’s the type of day we don’t want;
It has a meaning all unto itself

Or on arrival, the guttural sound of
Your duty now as you dismount,
Engulfed in the scene displayed
Before you, blocking the image of
The twisted hulk before you, smoldering
Doused in splatters of engine oil and
The lifeblood that is people oil;
The macabre scene a result of this war’s
displayed grotesque human behavior.

You hold the litter as you stumble on
Over engine parts and upturned earth;
You lift it up to pass it off into the helo
But you want to keep carrying it.

Zombied souls stagger away from the bird
As it lifts off kicking dust into your face,
Your arm still strains under the litter’s
Missing weight. You want to be there
But you can’t; You need to help more
Because that small part you did
Just wasn’t enough.

And hearing later that he died in flight
The weighty-strain returns not to your
Arms but within the very core of your being.
And that, willingly or not
You will carry for life.

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
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1 Response to The Grudge

  1. Thank you for doing what you could. A dear dear friend of ours died in Afghanistan. His mother holds the words of the person that recovered her son’s remains in her heart always. They have shared many conversations and hugs… and tears. What you did for that person DOES MATTER.


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