Kokoda God

John Collard

You watch us trawl through muddied slime
lured by memories
of scarlet roses entwined in picket fences
before summer suns
send heat waves
to scorch their fragile beauty.

We wrestle with this slope,
each step slipping
as we grasp at tendrils
to draw us through the sucking ooze.

Mosquitos attack more frequently than enemies,
more toxic than a kamikaze strike!
Plunge hypodermic poison
into stretching arms and struggling souls!

We glimpse faces beyond the horizon;
forlorn wives thumbing ration books,
children locked into silent yards,
friends waving bravely from the piers.

Next day we do not wake refreshed,
but swollen by welts and memories
resume the trail
and wish we could be safe at home.