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The Party

We stood talking as the steaks cooked
You said I had the longest eyelashes you'd ever seen
and you were going to write your wife and tell her about me
You hoped one day I could meet the wonderful woman who stole your heart

It was a party, after all
a time to forget the harsh realities of war
and remember the good things waiting for us
back in the Real World

The steaks were done and I was invited to sit at the Colonel's table
We would talk more after dinner
_____________

When I heard the three thumps
I looked at the Colonel still enjoying his steak
and knew my ears must have simply mistaken the sounds for incoming

This was, after all, a Divarty Party 
and the Colonel knew his men 
must man the guns if we were under attack

But as the next rounds began exploding in the middle of the party
I looked questioningly at the Colonel as he disappeared into the distance

I knew not the location of the bunker 
and was well aware that the men
were running not to the bunker
but to the guns

My thoughts raced in confusion and terror 
leaving my legs motionless
The pounding of my heart echoed the cadence of the
explosions surrounding me

I frantically looked around 
hoping to spot you long enough to ask where I should go
and was relieved to see you still there

You were looking at me, 
yelling something and pointing 
as you disintegrated in a flash of light
and a splash of red
The horror froze me as I stared at the 
scattered red fragments that were once you
and a guilt gripped my soul that has forever blocked
the memory of how I finally got to the bunker
	_____________

The next thing I remember is
standing dazed in the bunker
when a boy came up and handed me 
the tail fin from a mortar
 
"This one almost killed you," he said
"So I thought you ought to have it."

I've kept that tail fin all these years,
but I would rather have met your wife.

emily strange
1988
 

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