I used to sit and watch you play Battlefield 1
My legs tucked under me as I drew red lines on the essays of fifteen year old girls and nodded, knowingly, at angst and sadness that was theirs and mine
I was distracted by angry German shouting, shrapnel spitting through the air, bodies pierced and punctured by 100 year old bullets from rifles I was starting to recognise: Lee-Enfield, Carcano, Springfield
Willing you, now and then, to look at me
To see me
But you were a sniper picking off enemies from a distance. Such a distance.
And you wouldn’t die for me.
‘Did you see that?’
Yes, I saw that. I saw it all.
Someone else is playing your game.
Someone else is going over the top,
Recklessly pitching grenades at enemy troops
Maybe he is the same vulnerable, dispensable soldier
Traversing no man’s land
Negotiating the unpredictable terrain of the unknown
But he prefers the Madsen
And when he paused yesterday, briefly, to move a piece of hair away from my eye with gentle, precise fingers
I almost cried