Love Letter to a Soldier

by Gerald Arthur Moore

When he unrolled his sock-donuts
a tiny note tickertaped to the floor
of our canvas tent.

In the pulsing kerosene light
he read her script, then held it
underneath his moustache, to breathe in
what she had left him there.

I recalled how Sir Walter Raleigh
cut a love letter into glass with
a diamond.

One soldier I know had one written
on rose petals, sewn carefully together
with his lover’s hair.

There, in the hot whisper of gaslight,
they were dancing; for an instant
the tent was a soft moss forest floor
where the picnic basket rests, and the
waterfalls drone white noise to the
entwined lovers, resting on their home-made quilt.

In that blessed analepsis he was away
from the business of painting targets
with lasers, from insurgents, drone strikes,
IED casualties, ramp ceremonies.

Away from the bagpipe requiems below the tail
of the C-130 Hercules,
and the long funerary drive on Canadian highways,
under frowning flag draped bridges,
to the equally long and lonely symptoms
of PTSD.

In that tent he was himself, with her, before
the sandstorms of war, and the digging out.


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