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Under a grove of palms sits a man,
broken and changed,
so that all others except men like him
who have tasted death
will not be able to understand.
His mouth and tongue parched by thirst,
are quenched by the trickles of water
which run from his canteen
down his throat.
He removes a walnut so cherished
and rare from his tattered coat,
and begins to think of home,
and his dog, Corn.
A smile appears on his face,
which is as foreign to him
as he is to this place.
The thought that runs through his mind,
is a memory of Corn and how he would chase
the fat squirrel, who lived in the old oak behind his house.
Suddenly a shooting pain
sprung from the lump on his head
and the missing toe
that had been taken off by a stray round
brought him back from the realm of dreams.
He knew that his battalion's foothold
would be enough to launch an attack
so they could take the island.
All he had to do was sit and wait for
the medics to find him and remove him
with the rest of his fallen comrades from the beach.
So, as the swelling waves pounded the smoothing sands,
he sat still
his armpits stained with sweat.
And took in a breath,
watching the black smoke rise above the horizon,
his rifle in his lap,
truly happy to be alive.