Or maybe only silence

Here’s my draft for today, Thursday 06.06.19, the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

Or maybe only silence

If they spoke, if they could speak
lips sticking dry against dry teeth
and dry-tongued when they spoke
whispered, hoarse throats dried up
in a hot heartbeat rhythm of hard swallows
in the long white moments leading up to

was it of plans for college or a fiancé back home
the job waiting for them when they returned
their children’s faces, the old high-school gang
or maybe only a quiet jumbled shared brief prayer

I can’t imagine those conversations
just barely thinking straight enough to hold it together
the dreadmost quiet before battle
the sheer fear, absolute terror
that grips the body so inextricably
in such a paralyzing way
that the finger lies dead numb along the trigger guard
can barely flick the safety off
with a last jagged deep breath

and then, exactly as they imagined it might be
the freezing plunge into the water
the breaking loose of all hell

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