The Peacekeeper

by Rune Bjornsen

You saw them die on TV.
Then you got your orders.
To go there yourself.

You went,
You said goodbye to your loved ones.
Walked aboard the plane.
It lifted from the ground.
You fell asleep.

You walked out of the plane.
Smelled the air.
Looked around.
At a foreign country.
You loaded your rifle.
Hoping you would never have to fire it at someone.
Lifted your pack.
Boarded the transport.
You tried to take it in.
The burned houses.
The litter in the streets.
On the way to your new home away from home.

You arrived at your base.
Got your kit stowed away.
Went on your first patrol.
Heart pounding a little extra.
You met them then,
the people getting killed on TV.
Smiling at you.
Spitting at you.
You did your job.

You held a newborn baby in your arms
while the medic took care of the mother in the morning.
In the evening you kicked in a door,
and ransacked a house looking for weapons.
You found them in the newborn baby’s cradle.
You did your job.

You sat in an observation tower for twelve hours during the midday heat.
Watching the fields so that the farmers could bring in the harvest in safety.
In the evening the farmers threw stones at you,
and threatened to kill you.
You did your job.

You saw your best friend die.
He stepped on a mine placed there the night before.
The next day you escorted the killers’ children to school.
You did your job.

You called your loved ones on the phone on Christmas Eve.
You told them you missed them,
that you wished you where with them.
Then you picked up your rifle,
and went on another patrol.
You did your job.

You did it for six months, a year, forever.
Then you packed your kit.
Got on the transport.
Fell asleep.

Your plane landed in your own country.
Your loved ones waited at the airport.
Waited for you.
You came home...A VETERAN