Omaha Beach

by Joe Masi
(Denver, CO USA)

Sunset paints
horizon an ominous red

Foreboding waves
slap side of ship

I, Private Robert Ryan
Infantry, yes sir grunt

light up: deep,
deep, drag

slowly, slowly exhaling
eyes narrow, jaw tight

gut-fearing mind asking
Me, First Wave?

Who decides: gung-ho captain
sacrificing our asses

Higher ups
weeding out weakest

Far away planners relaxing
in snug, safe surroundings

I commit to die for our flag
Follow it into battle but

prefer longer odds than
first to hit hostile beach

I take final drag
Flip butt over-the-side

Tomorrow’s terror
comes closer

One last knap
in a warm sack

My fearful feelings finally
surrender to sound sleep

Like a frightened monkey
I scramble down the net

Pounce on the floor of
a First Wave boat

Hopelessly heading into
hellish heat of a hostile beach

Bumpy ride
Fear mixes with vomit

Landing ramp drops
into waist high water, I plop

Soldier to my left, cut in half
Soldier to my right, head explodes

I continue forward
Awash in their blood

Slowed down by full pack
Fifty bloody yards to go

I see the flash of enemy fire
from the cliff above

Bullets spray the water like
heavy drops of rain

I hear one shout out my name
before blasting me into oblivion

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