lantern

George Washington jumps the gate headfirst into wooden rowboat. Out on the Delaware the creaking of the oars in the ice cold river. There must’ve been lanterns lit so that when the artist sitting dockside took out his paints and paintbrush to paint nightside could have had adequate lighting and painting a man in his heroic prime leading a war in freezing cold temperatures. I am soldier feeling the strong breaths of wind invade my too thin jacket. Every assault is traumatic. Feeling like a block of ice, glacier on the water. I’m not even a person anymore. My brass buttons are so cold if I brought the tip of my tongue to it, it would surely stick. Fly paper afternoon, stoned to the couch. Stuck. Like sticky sweet caramel brownies that Gretchen Janeway will always be making. Jeri Taylor with the details. Me with the details. I stick out my tongue to catch a snowflake. Melting upon impact I pretend it is a chicken dinner that I, a soldier, would kill to have. Literally kill to have. I’m killing to have it. When will it come? Willy Wonka Gobstopper where art thou? I’m waiting for my mashed potatoes with gravy and blueberry pie for dessert. I don’t care what color I turn or how big I balloon up. Roll me away forever, but give me solace and comfort in the food I feel like I’ll never have again. Smelling the frozen water dispels the stinking of other soldiers. The air enters my nostrils so cold it’s like cocaine clarity. My nose runs and I can’t stop it. My hands are on the oars. I must row on. Let the snot freeze icicles. I don’t care as long as I’m not left in some unmarked grave by the enemy. Redcoats are just as good as dead as the skin on an old injury. As I wiggle my numb toes I imagine a beach and sunlight and it takes me out of the present moment, but not nearly long enough. Lantern leading the way, showing time and promise me you’ll never leave. Maybe I could imagine being in the flame. Allowing it to consume me. Feel the heat licking at my heels now. What I would do to be that flame encapsulated and ensconced in that holy glass chamber. Where do I sign up? I see nothing but the black water around me, hear the dip and splash of the oars, feel the splintery seat upon my rear, trying not to move too much.

Author: Roe

29. she/her. Songwriter & Trek Punk Soul™.

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