One mile,
a last hazy stretch of dark road,
ominous hedges.
The last mile.
All around me are dark things,
a circle of black-clad men
and the scent of gunpowder.
They see me through the fog,
and to them I am a gray outline,
a pencil sketch.
From afar, they are smudges of lead
or graphite on paper.
But closer, and I do draw closer
in spite of myself,
I can see the gray swirls of their breath,
rising steam.
I worry they can see mine too.
Because my breathing is faster, now,
like my pulse.
Then I am there,
amongst the dark men and the mud puddles,
the thunderous whispers
and trails of pipe smoke.
I am accepted with silence.
Together we are the hands of a clock.
We must turn.
Another mile clears in the mist,
and we hoist our guns in unison.
Together we file,
in purposeful lines,
a death-silent march.
Tonight, I think, is the last night.
I can already taste the blood.
I can already see the vultures
circling and reveling in death below.
One more mile to the battleground
Together, though, it does not feel as cold,
it is not as hard to walk.
Our last mile.