The long spaces between thoughts ring with the echoes of gunfire
As my head slowly begins to ache and the pain spreads
Just a few moments ago, I could swear that I felt
The sweet warmth of the sun, so long unfamiliar now

All that lingers in my mind's eye is the light's painful glare
All that lingers in my ears is the sound of silenced screams

Smoke seeps out of my mouth slowly
Through my clenched teeth, like steel doors
Holding out the world, holding in the words
And flak shells shatter the sky in my eyes
Embers dance and shudder with my footfalls
On earth that reaches up to consume me

I hear the battles being lost
I can hear time slipping through our fingers
Are these my hands or yours?
I have forgotten
Is this my heart or yours?
I'm not sure anymore
Where is the war being fought?
I can't remember
What year is it?
Does it even matter?
I can feel the words, like empty shells
Bouncing, hollow, clinking, spent

In those long, empty spaces
Between thought and words
Every now and then
I find I have lost my mind
I think it is trapped
Inside those hollow words
Full of spent powder and smoke
I wish it would all burn away,
That the fires would rise up and consume it all
I wish that the emptiness would rise up,
Like a great beast bursting out of the ocean,
And that it would devour the world, putting out the flames

For in those empty moments
Those long, meaningless spaces,
Nothing is worth saving anymore
All is ash and ember and hollow
Where ignorant armies clash

In those moments I look around
And I see broken buildings and dried up oceans
Walking around dressed up in suits, dressed up as life
With smiles of broken glass and twisted metal
Their skin crafted from tightly-stretched suffering
Faces powdered with lies
Creatures that leave, not footprints, but craters
Walking stripmines
What use are such things alive?
Surely in death they would have more value.

With a single whisper of the wind,
Or a smile from a stranger,
Somehow these moments pass.

Simple, warrantless, kindness
Tears through the field of destruction
Like a beam of light through clouds
Emptiness seeps away, crying as it goes
Smoke resentfully dissipates
The creatures I see break apart, sinking back into the earth
And the veil of ash falls away from my eyes
Yet tendrils of darkness yet remain
Whispering questions as they thin and fall away from sight

The sun, no longer a stranger, smiles
Its glare is gone and its warmth returns
But the questions remain and build and I am left but to wonder

Is the war I see all around me,
Or just inside my mind?