In a dream where my own death
throws me limp against the boulders
of Gettysburg’s Devil’s Den,
young men grown old too soon
ignore my plight in their own desperation
to maintain a brisk fire
upon the enemy’s last known location.
The humidity holds the sulfurous smoke
eye level and nineteen out of twenty musket balls
either fly overhead or flatten
against the igneous stone
eons older than our uncompromising grudge.
As my soul escapes my body
my left foot catches between my ribs
and I cannot rise toward the heavens,
as I believe I should, fighting with God on my side
to protect my people’s rights and liberties.
My ethereal hands pry at the ribs to no effect.
I am locked in the swirling maelstrom
as charge and counter charge
overrun this ancient stone,
this firing line disintegrating
only to be replaced by another
as support comes forward
to create more work for tomorrow’s
gravediggers and undertakers.
copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney