Seven for the Seven Stars in the Sky (IP)
His final tour of duty, and this,
his very last night; thank Christ!
For once, the guns were quiet.
He lay on his back, counting
the planets and constellations.
Levelling, to think of earth
as a mere speck of sand
in the grand scheme of things.
No life on Mars, nor Saturn
or Jupiter, but, just somewhere
there had to be a world like ours.
And if there was, would there be
a thing called ‘love’ there? Only,
where was love right now...
in this fucking, futile war?
Took a drag on a half-finished
smoke; the stars putting on a show
in his honour, or so he kidded
himself. On the horizon, the flash
of mortar fire grew ever brighter.
His heart raced as he patted
his top left, breast-pocket –
took out his mobile phone;
a photo of him and his son, the night
before he’d left. The two of them
camping out in their back-yard.
“Take me with you,” he’d asked
and, in a way, he had. Seven,
was Jack, but a wise head on such
small shoulders, and his words
came flooding back.
“Look up there! The Plough,
Dad. I bet it’s even higher
than the moon. God made it,
and He’s everywhere, so,
in the desert you’ll see it too!”
And he was right; more right
than he could ever know.