The Battlefield

July 20, 2008
By Allegra Krasznekewicz, Carmel, CA

I saw the bodies of fallen soldiers
Strewn haplessly across the ground
The rising sun a silent witness
To their unacknowledged deaths.
I walked among them,
Consecrating their unmarked graves.

Roses with petals slashed and bruised
Peonies in hopeless, forlorn heaps
Sunflower heads severed
From bent and withered stalks.
The oppressive stillness of death,
The putrid smell of decay;
I had come too late.
My breath echoed softly
Among the wingbeats of ascending souls.

Their faces had once been bright,
The shades of exuberant youth painted delicately
Across their fluttering cheeks.
The aroma of life, luscious and sultry,
Was carried by wafting breezes
Through shadowy, deserted halls.
They stood upright, fearless sentinels
Protecting me faithfully from despair.

Now dead, their former beauty dissipated,
It is my trembling face
That hesitantly welcomes
The gentle touch of morning;
It is my ashen cheeks
That are slowly turned crimson
By the dancing, luminous rays
That fall like rain from a cloudless sky,
Cleansing their broken bodies
And cooling my smoldering tears.

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