In 2015, you said, you’d go
(you who had never left these shores)
perhaps that’s why I took it up,
why you became we: in 2015
War broke out in 2012.
You were scared, when they said
you’re going into battle. I know
you were, I saw the tears, but you
strapped yourself in
cracked a joke
got your affairs in order, and
off you went
I remember we sat in wicker chairs, watching
stars glitter behind gum leaves, and listening
to the sounds of nothing. You told me you believed
we could win.
It’s not going to kill me, you said.
Like all the others before, you had
boyish faith in your survival.
The grim reality came later, the sounds and smells
the pain that went right through you. Still,
you never quite believed it;
never really thought you might not
make that ridge
In 2013 you lost your war.
We buried you in the rain, your hat
atop your coffin
your best boots on. In 2015 I’ll go alone
to mourn you in a place you’ve never been.