As a rifleman,

I got hooked on cigarettes

that came with our food in a war

that wasn’t supposed to be a war.

Hurry up, and wait, a military mantra,

that left us with boring stretches

of time, —nothing to do, but smoke

and smoke.

With every barrage of heavy artillery,

I almost wet my pants,

more terrified of friendly fire

than anything the enemy could deliver.

After witnessing blood-soaked bodies

returning from the front line,

I smoked one cigarette after another

waiting for the one bullet

that had my name on it.