© Allan Goode

Winner, 2012 ‘Ipswich Poetry Feast’, Ipswich, Queensland.

The quiet’s almost deafening, so dark and full, complete,
like nothing else I’ve ever known, can’t hear my own hearts beat.
It’s really rather peaceful, I can almost hear my smile.
So warm and whole, encompassing, I hope it stays a while.
I sense my eyes aren’t open but I can’t determine how
or what it was that made me feel this sense of peace right now.

Then all at once my world erupts, like lightning striking ground.
The pain, the smoke, the screams of fear from people running round.
But wait, I’m wrong, the screams I hear are coming out of me.
I tense and try to breathe again and pray to be pain free.
I try to open pain-filled eyes, but something holds them closed.
I realise it must be blood from wounds that were exposed.

The recognition hits me, our patrol was taking hits.
It must have been an RPG that blew our truck to bits.
The pain is overwhelming me, I just can’t take the pain.
I force my eyes to open to a world through pinkish stain.
My nose picks up the horrid stench of burning flesh and gear
and through it all I hear a voice, “It’s okay mate, we’re here.”

I see him then, his head askew, sweat dripping from his cheek,
an Aussie Army medic, like he does this every week.
He gives me half a smile and says, “It’s good to have you back.”
“We thought we’d lost you for a sec’ but now you’re back on track.”
“The chopper isn’t too far off, we’ll get you out quick smart.”
“That needle that I’ve given you should ease the pain in part.”

He winks, and in that moment all the pain just flows away,
and that’s when I recall the sense of peace I felt today?
I almost took that final step to free myself from strife.
I’m lost on how to thank this guy that brought me back to life.
I say, “I can’t express enough how much you helped me out!”
Then he just says, “No worries mate, when we get back, your shout!”

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