Volume 31, Number 4

No Man’s Land

They sent me forward
To scout the front lines
On my hands and knees
In deep, fresh snow.

I could smell the enemy—their cigarettes
And coffee—hear them
Whispering to one another.
Or was it the sound of the tall drifts

Of shimmering new snow
Sighing as the wind carried them
Across the wastes one
Grain at a time beneath

The unbelievable blue
Of the morning sky?
It’s not so bad out here,
Especially at dusk. It’s quiet

And I have things to do.
And when the spring rains
Turn the snow to mist
I’ll crawl back to the line

And slip through the wire.

—Richard Hedderman