Just a Thing

You are a person.
Living, standing next to me
You speak and gesture,
I don’t understand your language
But, interpreted or not
You probably talk about the same things
I do, same hopes that I have. The same thoughts
That I think, about your family and
Your job, what you’d like for dinner tonight
Or how great it feels to make someone laugh,
Warm sun on your face on a quiet spring afternoon
And the feeling inside when you catch a glimpse
Of that special girl and her eyes meet yours –

But you do not connect for me;
You are human, yes. I could’ve known
You forever sometime, but we’ve never met,
And we won’t again.
I am passing through your town just as
You are passing through my life.
A shot. A crash. Chaos as fire erupts
Seeking cover I turn left, you turn right –
And when all is said and done you lie motionless
Your pooled red blood and hollowed empty eyes –
Open, dulled, eyes they are but with nothing inside.
I want to hear you speak your language that
I don’t understand, but can’t care about now.
I poke you; You listlessly flop –
You are now just a thing.


Author’s Note: I had a specific image I wanted to use to accompany this piece of work, but I felt it far too graphic to publicly display here – despite my wanting to show readers the true brutal and harsh realities that was our war.

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.
This entry was posted in War Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Just a Thing

  1. Your writing is powerful enough that you don’t need to post the image. It is already in the reader’s mind – vividly.


  2. Excellent powerful poem. Thanks for sharing.
    Shine On


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