Last night he said to me that he hates this country. “Three years of my life and then nothing in return”?  I can hardly breathe when I think of the ‘nothing’ – a silenced aching emptiness where his friends used to be. But still he’d do it all again.

For his friends, his family – but not the country – anything but the country, and not the government – “The government never die. We die, but the government never die.” Fighting puppets on golden strings, given a small stake in the profits.

So when I go to ask you, how you got so strong, and so angry, I already know the answer. It’s the same reason that means you know exactly how to upset me, even though when I look in your eyes, they tell the truth unwaveringly.

But weren’t you trained to be like that? To stand bold in the face of an enemy, to stare them down. To kill. And to protect.

“I got the call last night. Can you handle a soldier?”

And I just wish you were just saying “Can you handle me?” But here, they’re one and the same.