David J. Thompson

As I Open My Eyes

The monsoon season persists,
by far and away the longest 
and worst one any of us has ever seen
The roads are nothing but mud,
the only bridge swept away 
in the flooding weeks ago. 
Supplies are dangerously low,
our children are loud and hungry.

We need desperately to harvest
the wild yams that grow abundantly
along the river in the valley
below us, but there are rumors
of rebel snipers, all crack shots, 
all along the treeline. In the morning, 
we’ll draw straws to see who goes, 
so I’m praying I won’t be left 
holding the short one, then handed 
a hoe and a burlap sack.

I pray until my sore knees remind me
I’ve been doing this crap every night 
for months to get this god damn rain
to stop, and now still can’t remember
the last time I even glimpsed the sun.
As I open my eyes and get back on my feet,
I can’t help but wonder if it’s true
that you never ever hear that final shot 
that drops you dead.

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