A Soldier's Sestina

A tale of PTSD


1. A Soldier's Sestina

Against all the odds and expectations, I'm here.

I have survived, made it here almost whole.

It's been hard and it's been bleak with shadows dark.

I am the only one who lived, who came back.

I see them every night, their faces pale, cold.

Blood leaks through their clothes into my broken soul.


It's odd that I still feel I have one - a soul.

When they are gone and I am lingering here.

Meeting their wives was worst, seeing their eyes cold,

Their families fractured, no longer as whole.

She waits for a lover who's not coming back

And his side of the bed is forever dark.


I am afraid of it now, the nighttime dark.

It creeps in, thick as mud , and poisons my soul.

During the day it dims but at night - it's back

The fear, pounding through my veins, it's always here.

Once I tried to get it out, remove the whole,

But it stayed there and my nights remain so cold.


The walls here are sterile, a crisp white and cold

And nobody else is afraid of the dark

And they all seem to be better, all whole

They dont seem to have my darkness in their soul

And I hate it so, seeing their faces here

Watching as they are all somehow fighting back.


I lied earlier, when I said I was back.

I shiver and quake,  but it isn't from cold.

My throat tightens, I am stuck, I am trapped here

In my own body and the light, it goes dark.

I can't run, I can't escape my rotting soul.

I lied earlier when I said I was whole.


I reach around, it's still here - a scalpel, whole.

I'm surprised, I thought they would have got it back.

I will be free of it, my decaying soul

And the metal against my wrists is so cold...

I don't cry out, I keep silence in the dark.

No reason to wake them, the others in here.


I did not fit in with all the good men here.

My moods, my thoughts, my mind were all far too dark.

I feel my soul drip from my wrists. I am cold.

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