Veteran Poetry: Elusive Enemy

Elusive Enemy

Never the soldier

with the flag

draped over my heart,

I looked for the enemy


in every bloody cavity.

I peered into bullet holes

of eleven year old

Taliban fighters,

Down the dissected gash

of a known Al Qaeda operative

split lengthwise by a Hellfire missile,

Through the perforated heart

of a taxi driver

turned terrorist,

The fuel of anger and resentment

like a bitter argument

whose origins are lost to memory,

Blow through the market bus

showering remnants of women

and children,

They hit the ground with the soft splat

of a large raindrop,

A shoe here, a headscarf there.

I search through crowded bazaars

and vast streets

of abandoned rubble,

I thought I found the enemy

through the face of a friend

his charred features distorted beyond recognition,

I thought I found the enemy

in the chest cavity

of a man/boy,

Heart and lungs fenestrated

by a bullets ricochet

remote detonator grasped tightly in hand,

All of his blood

cascading on to the floor

leaving him a ghost.

In the dust-choked


of Afghanistan,

Somewhere between the Tigris

and Euphrates,

I found only an illusion,


I found only


Frances Wiedenhoeft is a poet, writer and 22 year Army veteran with service in Iraq, Afghanistan and Desert Storm.






About Frances Wiedenhoeft

After a lifetime in nursing, anesthesia and the Army I now write, blog, attend school for journalism and massage, and watch my 3 grandchildren. I am a veteran of Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan and try to serve other vets such as myself, and to work for peace.
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