A Soldier's Dilemma

October 19, 2011
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The boys stand in front of me,
sweat dripping from their foreheads.
They anxiously wonder what I will do next.

Their tired bodies that once
played with carefree motion
are now trapped in a cruel, adult world
full of anguish and despair.

Their glistening, dark brown skin resembles my own.
Their ebony eyes and kinky hair resembles my son’s.

Should I let them go?
They realize that this gun holds life or death—
their eyes plead for reprieve.
Should I do my job?
I am undoubtedly aware that granting their freedom
will contradict the oath I vowed to never break.

I make my decision.

One bullet at a time,
the boys collapse onto the dusty ground.
Shutting their lifeless eyes,
I inhale deeply and wipe the crimson blood
from my forest green fatigues.

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