A day in the life of a soldier serving in Afghanistan
At night, a dust-covered camouflaged helmet rests
atop a pair of boots at the foot of his bunk
alongside his weapon and gear,
a laptop precariously perched on a olive-green
wooden box at bedside provides a wireless conduit
to wife, children, parents, friends;
a means to share mutual love, joy, fear.
He sits the bunk here after chow each evening
straddle-legged and hunched over the little machine,
dirty, bone-weary, yet driven to connect
if only for a few moments with a saner reality
before giving himself over to exhaustion and
a few hours sleep more and more likely these nights
to feature a replay of the suspense, the numbness,
the stark terror of yesterday, last week, an unforgettable date
long since forgotten, a blurring of possible tomorrows,
sometimes an aching emptiness of no possible tomorrows.
And then suddenly, coldly, it’s intermission time;
dreams on hold, daybreak once more.
But the intrigue continues, no beginning, no end.
The helmet, boots, weapon and LBE are missing;
the laptop, the box, the bunk remain.
He’s out there - fifth day of this operation,
part of a small group on patrol near Kandahar,
a mixed Taliban hot spot in southern Afghanistan.
A close call two (or was it three) days back, but he was lucky -
shattered rifle stock, scratches from flying M16 plastic.
His bunkie took one in the thigh the day before
(or maybe the next day), nearly bled out
before they staunched the bleeding.
R&R in Kuwait; he’ll be back.
But all in all, they’ve been lucky
A few more weeks of mopping up and
on to another section of the city, or maybe
a second sweep of the same terrain;
humanity parts when they move in,
fills the vacuum when they move on.
The MacBook sleeps fitfully on its makeshift perch,
awaiting his return indeterminate hours from now.
An almost inaudible purr emanates from its sleek shell,
sole evidence of a tenuous link to the “real” world.
(c) m borgman