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Silence or Laughter

by Phillip M. Bennett

What hurts more when my eyes stare at you,
Desperate as the soldier heaving his last breaths,
Flat on the cold terrain through the bullets lodged in his chest,
And when my words limp the distance to your ears,
Pleading to spare them a thought in dejection
Like the way a bum shakes his cup for change from
A passer-by who never turns his head at him:
Your silence or laughter?

Half-listening, your lips feign a smile
As your eyes avoid me, asking yourself
“Shall these bones live?”
But why should I expect to live,
Depending on a match for warmth in a blizzard?
I breathe your cold air
Through a sigh, short and infrequent,
Gasping less from you as the shivers
Grow fiercer.

It is through a maelstrom I hope
As a mere stone the wind could whirl me
Onto a leaf from your branch.
But lacking the density, I float,
Sinking only when my arms forget
To tread and I reach for you,
Close to touch
Yet still too high above my head.
So as I sink again,
Would I drown from the depths of silence
Or the laughter from the surface above?

Copyright © 2011 by Phillip M. Bennett

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