Other People’s Poetry

The Soldier

by guest poet David Livingstone Clink

If he could speak he’d ask for some food, some water, and you’d invite him in. Taking off his boots and putting his feet up, he’d sip lemonade with you on the back porch. He’d talk about where he grew up, which sports he played, and the women he knew. He’d say this place is very much like the place he grew up in, but the sky seemed bigger in his hometown. You’d ask if he wants to stay for the BBQ, and he’d surprise you by saying yes. He’d eat his fill, wash it down with a few beers. Before it gets dark he’d say he’d lost his map. Can you tell me where the enemy is? he would ask, and you’d point beyond the trees, and he’d thank you for your hospitality, and he’d be off, walking in the direction of those trees. But no, the faceless soldier cannot speak, you don’t strike up a conversation, you don’t invite him in. He passes your house and you get a sense of relief as you watch him become a distant memory, become the landscape, the soldier as much a part of the world as that distant mountain that draws everything in, even the clouds.


From his latest collection, Monster.