By Tamara Shoemaker

the same story, repeated over, trails this way
every now and then;

the bayonets, scalded from fire bursts,
life blood the reward of some heated bullet.
men, boys really, who sweat in the sky’s heat
and shake in the season’s cold,
bloody footprints tracked in snow
as shoes grow tired
and eyes sting blind
and rations fail
and hopes sink dim behind endless
marches and ragged formations.

time travels on and bayonets die
under the advance of technology;
bombs, jets, explosives —
how many ways can you kill a man?

the story’s still the same;
the play goes on until
one side or the other pulls the final curtain.
it scrolls across the stage, the last act,
and the players take their bows,
not without scars from their parts.

both sides return to their lives,
indelible ink scribing a story on each heart
that bleeds into history —
a tale of sorrow never forgotten

until the next time.

Tamara Shoemaker’s books include “Broken Crowns,” “Pretty Little Maids” and “Ashes, Ashes.” She lives in Virginia with her husband, Tim, and their three children.