www.canadianstories.net

Volume 21, Number 123,
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018


THE ALVIN ENS PRIZE - Second Honourable Mention
Sense
by Bryan Schmidt

I wish I’d gone to Bosnia.
I wish I’d gone to Iraq.
I wish I’d gone to Afghanistan.
I wish I’d gone
and not come back.

At least if I did go away,
and did come back
it would make sense.

And if I didn’t
come back
it would make sense.

It would make sense
that I lose my temper at nothing
but everything.
That the smallest noise can send me into a rage
and the loudest doesn’t even make me flinch.

It would make sense
that I hurt myself
charging through a battlefield
or wounded by an IED
or struck down by a bullet.

Instead
I am a broken soldier
they call me malingerer
not knowing the pain and the torment
is as real as if I’d lost both legs.

As if ruining your
mind and your body
could only happen in a foreign land
It would make sense.

It would make sense
that I can’t control my rage
or my sadness
or my screams
or my tears.

It would make sense
if I’d lost battle buddies
in the heat of battle
not in the heat of the moment.

An unmeasured word can kill
every uncontrolled outburst
like a long
drawn out
suicide.

Still drawing breath
but a ghost in their midst.

But I didn’t.
So it doesn’t.
I wish it made sense.