Chard deNiord

To the End


So angry in the first light of day as he lay in his hospital bed
with the metal guards upraised, stuck on his heath for good,
demented but aware of the time and bent on fighting to the end,
old marine that he was who’d never been to war, but had
in his head, destroying his enemies one by one except
this one without any form—a cough, some stars, a twinge;
no more “good mornings” to the team of men in their uniforms
of scrubs and gloves—just “godammit” again and again,
so much vim still left in him as they stripped him bare
in his uric bed and pinned him down while begging him
to “please stop fighting” then strapped him in to a human crane
that raised him up like a missing piece and rolled him in
to the sterile bath where they washed him clean as he hung
in the air and dressed him there in olive green and brought him
back into his room that was not his room where they lowered
him down to his special chair in which he sighed, then grinned,
as if he’d won again and was ready now to greet his son
who’d travelled such a long long way to say good bye.


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