Meditations of a Sniper

They sent me up this tower three days ago,
Just my rifle, rations, and a radio.
From here I can scope out most of the town —
The road leading in, the storefronts, alleys.
I have to keep down, so I crawl on my belly
Or roll round the dusty old slats of the floor.
With my friend here, it’s just one shot, one kill;
I whisper in that handset and I can bring down all hell.

Now look at that tomcat, he thinks he’s alone,
No one watching him stalk. Anything moves —
Bird on a phone line, the first chimney smoke,
Wisps the color of slate — the eye pounces
Long before the brain can evaluate.
I glance at a clothesline strung between pulleys;
There’s something about it makes me homesick.
With people you only look at their hands:
What have I got, a civilian or a shooter?
An invisible family hangs in the wind —
Overalls, a dress, two sets of pajamas.
This war makes me feel like an intruder.

One of our shells ripped a hole in the roof,
Mangling the cogs of the old town clock.
Sometimes nothing stirs for hours below,
But I’ll turn, look up at a jagged sky,
And see clouds slipping past. It lets me know
The world continues to spin. By my canteen
Two pale blue eggs hunker down in a nest —
Or so it seems as I blow off the dust.