I killed a boy today I thought was a man.
It wasn’t my idea this war,
but I would go when it was my turn,
and if they told me to lead,
I would,
and did.
The M-4 Abrams was our weapon,
stealth armoured landship,
the tanks were moving
and the scouts were scouting,
they told us to move,
and we did.
It wasn’t his idea this war,
but he would go when it was his turn,
and if they told him to hide
in a spider hole,*
he did.
The tank tracks rolled,
and I was leading,
the scouts were scouting him
in the spider hole hiding,
with his machine gun.
They told us, it was them or us,
it was him or me,
so it was him.
I shot.
He lay there, a boy,
this war wasn’t
my idea or his.
It was our turn,
and by chance our eyes would meet,
and if they told us to shoot
we would,
I did,
but would he
It wasn’t his idea.
(Originally pubished as “Soldier’s Story: To My Daughter” in Cityworks)