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UnrequitedIm going to ask her to marry me.
His words rang through my empty head and left an echo. I could feel my throat tightening and my heart beating faster. Not knowing what to do with my body, my clammy hands clenched themselves tightly into fists.
Isnt that great? he asked with a great big grin plastered across his face.
Uh, yeah I tried desperately to search the corners of my mind for something to say. It didnt matter whatbut I had to say something. I felt as though I couldnt speak for a moment, lost for words, my mind blank as a sheet of paper. After a second, I managed to choke out a response. Ththats great, I stammered. When?
Tonight, he said. Im taking her out to the lake around seven and Im going to surprise her.
I was shocked.
longdead leafa longdead leaf
burnt brown in the depth of green
cups a handful of fresh water
a leaf left behind
holds something of worth
forgoing death with its dead body
Poetic PsychosisIn thirty seconds, the next shell would fall. Every night was the same, but every night Lorenzo experienced it as if it were the first time. His throat felt swollen; breathing was hard. He glanced around at the others; young men like him who had been shipped out in the name of honour and freedom. There was no honour in this, no freedom. Only death behind your eyelids, and a fear so gutting, that it carved out your innards and left you a hollow husk. Lorenzo tried to breathe, tried to assure himself that he was still whole, still made of flesh. They had lied when they told him he was ready.
Matteo ran towards him, arms out, rifle swinging uselessly at his side. He shouted for him to run, but Lorenzo remained motionless, unable to move as his friend’s warning was lost in the constant blare of gunfire. None of them were ready.
“The cycle is repeating. It is not safe.” The voice was soft and weak, yet it carried over the gunfire and battle cries without impediment.
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