Joe Said...

   Joe said,
   we've got to go back.
   A fresh stab of fear
   sliced through me.
   We heard the scream,
   more like a hushed plea
   ...for help.

   He's wounded,
   one of us...I didn't want
   to go back.
   I knew the enemy was waiting
   ...just waiting.
   Joe said,
   keep low, keep quiet,
   He's out there, somewhere
   in the dark.

   Joe was an old salt,
   combat had rubbed onto
   his grizzled face:
   full of hollows,
   tough persistence,
   weary eyes.
   This was my first patrol,
   my first action,
   thrust out of the cocoon.

   Joe said,
   as moonlit shadows
   raced across rice paddies,
   dips and rises,
   patches of grass;
   I see him! Over there!
   A shifting of the wind
   rustled the brush...
   or was it the wind?

   Joe said,
   We've got to go out there,
   bring him back.
   We'd be sitting ducks,
   I was scared...frozen,
   ashamed of my fear.

   Joe said,
   sensing my uneasiness,
   (although I tried to hide it,)
   tried to stay calm, Joe.
   Let's go! So we went,
   up over the ditch,
   as the enemy opened up,
   fire from hell...

BY:  John Kent