sullen boots press in snow and blued thumbs
light cigars. Boys in soldier costumes sag on tanks.
The fuzz on their cheeks, wispy like pulled yarn,
thin wrists, sunken bodies, eyes shining with ribbons
and medals. Prayers fold in the creases of their palms.
In the morning, they’ll march with feet plagued
by miles and the weight of frosted skin pushing
against their knees. The sun rises, the recruits will curl
in a trench with their M1. Together, they sing
“Good Bye, Maria” and drink Gunfire on the backs
of Willys, shallow breaths rattle in the wind, the flies
picking at their wounds.
This is what bravery looks like–
and a little more – mama’s boys clutching rosaries
with trembling hands.
Eric Pak is a 16-year-old Korean-American living in Thailand. He has lived in many diverse countries and aims to share his experiences through his writing. His works have previously been published in K'in Literary Journal, The Paper Crane Journal and The Cathartic Literary Magazine. In his free time, he likes running.