I am a public service employee.
That means that for a small fee
I march with my white-feathered army
To remove what remains of the enemy.
I sweep the cracked bones, the blood and the pus
I clear the battleground of human detritus.
Friend of the farmer, friend of the land
I free the fields of foul contraband.
First day on the job: I suffer a fall
A hand had emerged from the stinking offal.
The hand had a body, covered in blood,
That dragged me down into the fetid flood.
"Forgive me," he whispered with his failing breath
He trembled, I trembled: between us was death.
I stared, mute and surprised.
I could see my reflection in his bloodshot eyes.
I cried out, then fired –
He cried out, then died,
None of us know what we do.
Oh, what shall we do?
I have a job to do.
One down; forty thousand to go.
Not my fault – they must leave for the crops to grow.
Like someone religious I part the Red Sea.
For my country I sweep. My staff grows heavy.
Won't you commend my bravery?
How do dead eyes keep staring in me?
I looked up for relief, but the sun blinds me.
I am a public works employee.
I am also a coward.