What It Takes

I hear your talk
all strategy, defending, protecting
words pulled taut, so tough
sheets of armor wrapped tight
against flesh, kimono style
circling, circling until
breathing is a memory
and your chest is a still, silent shield
But can you breathe? is not the question
What I want to know is
Can you love through that?

Can you walk open through the bullets
zinging past your head
death exploding in your ears
shrapnel kissing your cheeks
fear a riot in your heart
a cacophony of suffering
making splinters of your soul
tearing at your wild
and desperately hiding innocence?

Tell me soldier, are you brave?
Can you love through that?

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