A Hollowed Helmet

Torn from his sleep, he awakens to the sounds

Of hoarse shouts and whinnying horses.

He groggily slips into his socks and shoes.

More shouting, an alarm, gunshots, airplanes

& a crash followed by the sound of crackling flames.

Must be another air raid, he thinks.

He floats from his bunk, weapon in hand,

Out into the dull grey battlefield.

Clouds of smoke, shadows of men he’s never met before,

All united in killing

Other men they’ve never met before.

Peering through the haze, he spots a foe.

Numbly, he pulls the trigger, gunning him down.

General Whatshisname would be proud.

He imagines returning Home to his family, resuming the life he had created.

Like returned fire, he is struck with the realization that life

As he knows it is over, can never resume, can’t even be restored.

His former self has ceased to be, and his hard-shelled helmet is all that remains.

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