In that he brake the othe of hys order
this man was taken out in the dark,
tied shivering to a post and blinded.
The MO pulled him straight, pinned
the target on his chest, smoothed it.
He felt hot breath on his cheek,
caught the MO’s farewell (You bastard);
heard his brisk withdrawal. He sucked blood,
had bitten his tongue half through.
The corporal gave the command:
boots creaked, bolts rattled and clunked;
small sounds grew out of an absence.
Life drummed in his ear, cornered;
he blinked and the cloth twitched.
Then a soft shout like a cry for help
and a smack of light.
‘A Coward’ appears in Rob Hindle’s new collection The Grail Roads. You can order the book securely by clicking on the relevant PayPal button below.
The Grail Roads: £12.99 (hardback)
More than 60 previous Featured Poems can be accessed via this index (many of these pages also contain audio recordings and short films).