Thurman P. Woodfork

WAR CHILD

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: April 22, 2006
Awarded: April 22, 2006
Oh, God, this is not the way
I had planned to end my day:
Facing me is a bright-eyed child,
Staring at me, tense and wild.

Time stops, the world seems calm,
But this boy is a ticking bomb,
Standing there in dappled shade,
Tightly clutching a hand grenade.

Does he fully understand
That he’ll die if he lifts his hand?
He must know to move will send
Him straight to a bloody end.

I can’t let him get too near;
If he moves, he’ll trip the fear
Slowly building in my head
And I’ll surely shoot him dead.

Sweet Jesus, can’t he see
I have no choice – it’s him or me,
I don’t want to kill this child
Dear God, he’s starting to smile!

My hesitation makes him bold,
My whole body turns icy cold
As his hands start to lift
On its own, my rifle shifts.

Then he steps from shade to sun;
In that instant, his life is done.
Another stone drops on my soul;
Suddenly, I feel very old.