Old Warrior

NOTE:  this is the 3000th poem posted on this blog since January 1, 2010.  

You know better
but you can’t help it:
you were a hard threat
for so long,
you maintain the fiction
that you still are

although you’ve been
diminished, so shrunken
by time and awareness
of your own limits,

that holding onto 
the past seems less intimidating
than adapting
to the new you.

Puffed up and packing.
Face carved into snarl.
Hand hovers by pocket
and eyes flick around
and up and down;

all a show,
all a memory play. 
No one buys it
except you.

You keep hoping
it will all come back to you
if necessary. That your hands
will regain speed, your legs
strength, the brightness
will come back to your eyes
and all the reflexes you treasured
will reset and 

in that moment
will remember how
not to be killed,
how to defend yourself,
how to do again whatever
you might need to do.

But let’s face it, sport:

if something happens
you’re not ready
and you won’t be —

so if we’re all going to be
at last on a war footing,
you’ll be fodder only,
at most a slight delay
in the path of someone
more able to fight.

It’s possible that small role 
is what you were born for —
no noble pedestal for you
after you fall,

perhaps for you not even
the gratitude given 
to the anonymous resister
long after the war ends;

it’s possible
you were born for no reason
except to be expendable,
old warrior,

and what more could you ask for?

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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