Today I went to a workshop at the church office, at which we learned a bit about poetry and prose. After a couple exercises, we spent a little time developing a vignette. I had prepared to describe arriving at home, but had a change of mind just as we began to write. Here is what I did:
In the dusk stillness, I peered across the plain, pocked with craters and small tracts of grass and broken trees. We waited, listening for the whistle to commence the attack, a charge over the dirt mound and into the void ahead.
Beside me, a man whispered prayers to himself. His eyes squeezed as tight as the swaddling cloth around a baby. He swayed and swooned, back and forth, teetering on hope and despair.
On my other side, another man, broken by fear. Tears fell, and his whimpers only marginally drowned out by the pops and cracks of artillery.
Sulfur and smoke burned my nostrils, my eyes slightly watered to refuse the particles. My stomach felt full of iron pellets moving through intestines and churning in acid. I clinched my rifle to dispel anxiety, though success wouldn’t stay the hand of fate.
Relinquishing dreams and aspirations, the loves lost and had, and in the face of memories of family and friends, my hand sank into the cold dirt at the whistle’s shrill.