This poem of mine was published in Australia last year by Les Murray in the international literary magazine, Quandrant.
(PS somewhere between cut and paste here and the actual News page on website, the last line of this poem has floated down a little - nothing we can do apparently. Sorry.)
In green utility boiler suits
they could be here to fix the heating,
except for embellished wings
on each straight shoulder. One of them
still sports tooth braces, two
wear wedding rings.
They’re in logistics,
fly supplies out overseas
and their plane to Afghanistan is late.
I remember another café,
a man who’d consumed his crew
to survive an arctic air-crash -
he ate alone, a speaking space
around him -
the stench of shadows
seeps from these men too.
I want to tell them
we flinch from each butchered body
the plane brings back, they torment
us like ghosts we cannot disarm -
but hesitate, while poppy sales
scream daily of fresh kill.