By Edwin Arce, Jr.
We, Marines, simmer. We wait. For the fight. Lick our chops and jump at the sight and smell of blood. Caked on a sandy floor or glazed on a jungle vine.
Swearing, sweat drips in our eyes and stings. We let it fall because we enjoy the pain of the fight.
The labored breathing of exhausting war excites us. Strained breathes, burning lungs and parched mouths.
The burn of sand and dirt in open sores is a sweet reminder we are alive.
Living to die.
For a country that rightly belongs to us.
The smell of moist, dewy clothes, camouflage, soaked in sweat, spit, and spilled canteen water. In blood, ours and the enemies.
Soaked in spirit and fear. Fear we may never make it home. Fear we failed our country. Failed our Marines on the line.
That line. That imaginary line will never be compromised. Nor will the Marine behind it. He will die. That line is home.
The noise is quieted. The crack and booms stop. A laughter can be heard. The metal “chink” of a lighter chinks.
A lull in the fight.
Night falls and a whistle and a yell in the distance. Report back. We, Marines, wait. Breathing, sweating, stinging. In perfect formation. Aligned to the right. Steam from the head wafting in the wind.
Simmering. For the next fight.