Dedicated to my dear friend John, who lives the nightmare...

You can't forget how it was;
     the dream won't stop.
Re-living the nightmare
     over and over again,
Year upon year
     it's always the same...
Heart pounding wildly;
     cold drops of sweat
          rolling down your face;
The hairs on the back of your neck
     tingling with liquid fear;
          anticipation of...
River stench filling your nostrils;
     seeping in through every pore;
          it smells like death.
Will you ever feel clean again?
He's standing beside you, your friend;
     braced, alert;
          too young to be so old.
He's watching the shoreline;
     searching for clues.
Charlie's out there... somewhere,
     waiting... watching...
          he's ready for you.
Maybe he's just around the next bend...
     or the next... or the next...
You feel that shot, for the millionth time;
     the sickening sound of a bullet
          finding its mark;
Standing frozen and helpless
     as the horror unfolds again.
His body crumples, lifeless, to the deck
     at your feet...
And bathed in his blood, screaming still,
     you fire round after round
into the cruel night.
Blood makes brothers of us all...

Copyright ©1989, Virginia A. Cisewski