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Returning Home

by Dane Bowker

The bullets snap
And barrels pop
While the earth beneath me ripples
I realize then that I’m alive
And love my brothers by my side

In this land
Of desert sand
I’ve done the things that make a man
Pushed away the fears that haunt
Those things that most will not confront

Returning home
To a world unknown
I feel that life has passed me by
A host of faces but knowing few
They care not for me and thus withdrew

Up I get
And don my shoes
To work I go where nothing’s new
Boredom pines for days long past
Where bullets whispered amongst the grass

Weary now
And dull of eye
I reflect upon a dreary life
Fixing dinner I slip and slash
My upturned wrist above the trash

The streets are quiet
The earth is still
So much yet left unfulfilled
Collapsing fast as I lie down
I realize then I’ll die alone

Dane Bowker was one of the first members of the Afghanistan – Pakistan Hands Program, serving in Kandahar from 2010 to 2011 and Ghazni from 2013 to 2014. He was one of the only Department of Defense civilians operating at the village level in Village Stability Operations and worked closely with Afghan Local Police and the Afghan National Army. He currently resides in the National Capital Region and is looking for his next big adventure.

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