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The Knife

I decided to take a walk on the dark side.

The Knife

By Tony Radford

A missile-flash, a chopper-crash – a field of charred debris,
a team of five are burned alive – and that leaves only me.

A stranded man in hostile land – my radio is cracked,
a uniform that’s soiled and torn – at least I’m still intact.

A dire strait – I’ll lie in wait until it’s safe to go,
a star-less night, no moon in sight – thank God the clouds are low.

I take a fix – it’s twenty clicks from here to friendly ground,
the path I take is one I’ll make – there’s danger all around.

The woods are dense – a warrior’s sense will help me stay aware,
each step I take, I leave no wake – it’s like I wasn’t there.

I’ve reached the ledge at river’s edge – I think I’ll cross it here,
the dogs will fail to find my trail – my scent will disappear.

I’m tired and sore, but distant shore is not beyond my reach,
a current-flow that’s smooth and slow – a stretch of muddy beach.

It’s just my luck – I clear the muck and find a border post,
a band of men who’ve settled in – a dozen at the most.

Their numbers show by ember’s glow – a fire they failed to keep,
I pan the scene and all’s serene – the sentry’s fast asleep.

The coast is clear, I’m leaving here – I’ll keep my head down low,
but in the midst – a sordid twist I notice as I go.

While sneaking by, I realize there’s fewer than I thought,
just four at best and all the rest are women that they caught.

I’ll change my plan – no decent man could leave this group of slaves,
a forced consort, secured for sport – and surely bound for graves.

Like napping cats on woven mats – and each beside a gun,
I’ll take each life with just my knife – I’ll kill them one by one.

I hug the ground and make no sound, I’m one with shadows – still,
a deadly storm in human form – a viper trained to kill.

The ground is damp around their camp – the brush is soft with dew,
it’s sure to mask my pending task – by methods tried and true.

The first I reach - I have to teach him what it’s like to die,
I move behind and slice his spine – make sure he doesn’t cry.

I feel him tense, the pain immense – he takes his final breath,
without a peep – eternal sleep, the peacefulness of death.

The second one is just a son, no bigger than a speck,
I know my cause, but still I pause – before I break his neck.

Despite his size, I rationalize that what I do is right,
a brief remorse, then back on course – I can’t afford a fight.

Still discreet for twenty feet – I’m poised to make my play,
no need to hide, he’s on his side and faced the other way.

I cup his mouth and flip him south – I’ve caught him by surprise,
my painted face and foreign race put terror in his eyes.

I’ve got my blade already laid an inch below his ear,
he tries to move – I have to prove the reason why I’m here.

I feel him twitch and like a switch, his blood begins to flow –
I hold him close in still repose, when limp – I let him go.

The last to kill is lying still, appearing fast asleep –
perhaps, like bait, he lies in wait, aware and poised to leap.

I head his way to make my play and see his eyes are closed,
but once consigned, he wakes to find me standing there – exposed.

His slumber done, he grabs his gun and scrambles to his feet,
but once he sees I have no piece, his eyes declare defeat.

My fingers slip from leather grip to long serrated blade –
I sling it fast – a deadly cast he simply can’t evade.

He tries to duck, but no such luck –my weapon has the lead
my tempered dart has pierced his heart and left him dead to bleed.

I’ve won the fight, but now the night has changed to light of day –
a welcome sound, we’ve all been found – a Huey’s on the way!

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