COWARD

I move among the people eyes down

Carrying no visible scars for proof

Merely returned, blending into mediocrity.

I know how I remained secure while

Speaking to those playing roulette

On horrid, unforgiving Afghan ground.

I heard their destruction

Radios blaring anguished news,

Soldiers shouting, calling for back up.

I imagined their terror then,

Now see their scars in altered bodies

The pink, raw, crumpled

Freakish folds of repaired skin.

I see the surgeons’ work

The politicians’ choice

The people’s lot.

I stand in the shower physically whole

Touching what they have lost

Yet cannot touch what I have lost

Not knowing exactly what it is or where it was,

I move among the people eyes down.

James Jeffrey was an officer in The Queens Royal Lancers regiment of the British Army. He is now a journalism graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin.

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