Issue #11

Six shoulders

We carried the tank inside the church
an invading force on six shoulders.
Step. Stop. Step. Stop.
A marching rhythm hindered by mud,
between pews dug in like trenches,
lined with sand-bags and mouldy wood,
lined with bibles and hymn books frayed with time.
Here prayers are spoken for prayers sake
under the watchful eyes of a needy god.
There prayers are spoken for the end in sight
under the watchful eyes of a
machine gun turret set up in the pulpit.

Young men can die outside of wartime;
just in single figures rather than in single file.
Those who go together en masse are remembered
by a polished plaque, but those who shuffle
off alone adorn only mantle pieces at home.
Is it better to fall in a foreign humour tinged with bullets,
or tinged with tumours in foreign halls?

Step. Stop. Step. Stop.
An invading force on six shoulders
we carried the tank inside the church.
It was much easier to lift when broken.

Chad Bentley