Pawn on a Chessboard

— Sathvik Nair

I saw it with my own eyes.
A streak through the sky.
A flash.
A crumbled building.
September 11, 2001.
How could this happen?
In the United States of America?
I went up to the man in the desk,
Signed papers,
Left my home,
My girl,
My degree.
For my gun,
My uniform,
And my new friends for a foray into an unknown land.
The men in the suits,
They told us it was for democracy.
To preserve the security of the lives of 300 million people back
And I believed them.
Until the dreams of singing, the flag, and friends stopped.
And the nightmares started.
We kicked in the door, in an exchange of fire,
They put a bullet through his head,
One word escaped from the children’s mouths- Baba!
Another day– A girl was holding a box.
Her head covered with a pure white scarf.
Walking through the street.
Toward my squad.
The sergeant barked out- Stop! What’s in the box!
When she shook her head and furled her brow in confusion,
The order went down
And I squeezed the trigger.
A body collapsed.
A milk-white hijab bathed in blood.
A young man rushes out of a house.
In broken English I hear- I loved her! How could you!
Back in the States,
Medals line my uniform,
But scars line my chest.
They see a hero,
But all I see is a killer.

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