To Take a Life for Good

Art by Patrick Driscoll

By Robert Racicot

The mother’s push opens blossoms.

Cigar smoke boasts the next in line.

The son, formed from venerable genes,

is born to believe a warrior’s code

flows red inside these spirited veins.


The recruit’s sweat drips sultry sweet.

Sol’s blistering waves roast skin deep.

Muscled bodies rigid in order

chant to believe this oath to brother,

to cover his six above no other.


The cordite’s sting squints eyes of witness.

Thick dust wrings the CO’s bark.

Smoke tendrils dance with blackened flesh.

I trained to believe this fight I lived

for God and country and bombed-out homes.


The blast’s ring pierces wasteland silence.

Stained metal rips body parts unknown.

Parroted wails absorbed in sand.

My brain twisted to believe them all evil,

the mother, the child, the desert manger hole.


The doctor’s doses instill foggy dreams.

The tainted head mutes grinding dentures.

A coward’s fear creeps amongst guilt.

Drugged to believe this pain is good.

The stronger I’ll be the next go round.


The leaders’ lies dissolve empty pride.

Gone for nothing, no weapons found.

A flagged corner plot amid cloudless skies.

The duped hero’s belief returned to earth.

Lost freedom cashed in for carbon and gold.


The pastor’s prayer dictates commandments.

The leather bound book’s etched words sing scared.

The irreverent mockery the beguiled hypocrisy,  

baptized me to believe this rule I broke

is not called murder to kill for God.


It’s not called murder to kill for good.

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