Once They Were Enemies

I will be out of touch for a few weeks, so the next new poem will appear on November 13, 2022. Until then, I invite you to explore some of my earlier posts. Ciao.


Have a sit, Yank. Chaw?

Nossir, never did acquire the taste.

Where was you fightin’, friend?

Behind the stone wall at the angle. You?

Why, we was practically neighbors.
I was just the other side ‘a that copse of trees.

Well friend, we was in the worst of it.

Yessir, that’s a fact. How’d you meet yourn?

Took a bayonet to the belly when Armistead’s boys
broke through. Got dragged back but weren’t nuthin’
to be done. Died painful-like after 20 minutes.
What’s yer story, Reb?

Took grapeshot in my leg but tied it off
and kept chargin’ ’til some poor fella
shot me dead from four or five feet.
Can’t blame him, I’da kilt him next.

Did he make it home?

No, he never. Dead just after me, poor bastard. Met him here once,
long time ago. Nice fella, hailed from these parts somewhere.
His sweetheart had a rough go when he didn’t come home.

Lot of ’em did, wives and sweethearts.
Think we’ll ever move on from here, Reb?

Hope to, sure, but ain’t ready yet.
Been a hunnert and fifty-odd years
but don’t seem more’n a couple ‘a weeks.
What’s yer plan, Yank?

Likely same as yourn.
I’ll sit here ’til it makes some sense.

Reckon we’ll be here a while, friend.

Yessir, I reckon we will.

The spirits sit in silence until the first stirrings of dawn,
content in each other’s company.


Poem Notes: How could there not be spirits still frequenting the battlefield at Gettysburg? I was moved to write several poems after visiting there in 2021, including one published previously on this blog.

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A New Poem on Sundays!

Joseph Neely, all rights reserved