beneath the soil of manmade hell,
where men with rifles stood above
and fired down at those below.
They lie entwined, as if in love,
and none but them shall ever know.
None but one last rifleman,
old and feeble now, and thin,
who years ago, when young, stood by
and watched the broken weary dig,
and with his fellows made them die.
He's shrunken now. Was never big.
He'll join them soon. The cancer grows.
He saw the doctor's eyes. He knows.
His greatest sin remains unpurged,
as he runs down his mortal clock.
Bring them peace. He has that urge.
It's hopeless: there's a stumbling block.
The shooting he remembers well,
the din of guns, the cries. They fell.
The interest of the passing crows,
the twitching by the slow to die.
He knows he killed them, long ago --
but he's forgotten where they lie.