All the Help He Got

Paul looked in the mirror
for lines and cracks
uneasy that he might be broken.

Finding none
he did not declare it a miracle
but a failure to locate.

It is a long way home
from wars he fought
on cratered battlefields.

He did not find god
in a foxhole
or the burned out churches.

He pinched himself
to prove the fact
of his existence.

The fertile fields
awaited his labor
for maize and beans.

Not soldiers
and civilians
labeled as collateral.

The sun tipped the earth
for slanted rays
to sharply illuminate.

Paul stopped to smell the rose petals
before he took up the plow
furrowed the field behind a horse

so physical labor might
sweat the war out of him
and camaraderie be established

with an animal
that does not judge him
by his past.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

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