A Civil War Death

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt calls poets to illustrate a type of barrier. The poem shared below is from my book The Journals of Lt. Kendall Everly. In it, Lt. Everly describes how he strangled a Confederate enemy. The horror of his brutality begins to batter him, to bar him from the normal existence he knew before the war.

Lost

August 4, 1861 – Entry IV

His neck was thin. My fingers
slid around it as they might caress
your neck, Elizabeth. Yet, it was slicked
with blood so it felt as if I tightened

my grip around a fish. Hunched over
like Notre Dame’s bell ringer, I pulled
his head closer to mine. He might
have thought I meant to kiss him.

My heart, my mind, both bubbled
with some foul Satanic froth,
both marveled at the deepening color
of his face, a deep purple, a fine wine.

I gulped the dying gasps of this boy
as if his death would envelop me
with the silken filaments of salvation.
My fingers tightened. His neck grew

thinner, a wet string. His mouth,
like a gate, opened, dark and wide,
attempting to conjure breath. His limbs
flailed attempting to embrace the air.

His eyes, opened wide like globes.
Damn you, I screamed. DAMN YOU.
And then, there was death. He was still
And I was lost. Dear God, I am lost.

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9 thoughts on “A Civil War Death

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