‘Shake hands’ – Stinson series

Their sunken eyes stare
back at me, bodies motionless

and propped against the charred remains
of their flight.  The older one leans forward
and stretches out an arm.  Shake hands.

It’s like grasping a raw piece of meat.

You poor bastards.
I could’ve been here a week ago.

The two of them watch themselves
run down my cheek and fall from my face.

My hands shake. I try to hide my thoughts
but they can read them.

What’s in the bag?
How about boiling the billy?

It’s routine; the movements
of building a fire and brewing tea
that fight the uselessness of shock.

I remember to breathe, collect what I’m doing here
from the damp forest floor, make plans
to get these guys out of here.

What’s happening in the fifth Test? 

John sort of smiles as he asks,
his leg lies out in front of him
open and swelling with maggots.

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