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In combat, most of the time nothing happens; but it’s that mad minute -- that mad minute -- and you are tested in that minute. It becomes habit. I don’t know how I got the weapon away from that guy. I’m just a fat old vet, but I had to do something.

                                      -- Maj. Richard Fiero (ret.) after the Colorado Springs Club Q shootings, 21 Nov. 2022

At the door, six sudden

flashes, then far more.

The click and brrp-pop

of hot rounds spraying a room

again, brass shells cascading

to a floor. Bright bottles

splintered at the bar.

Despite stiff joints

he hits the deck, pulls down

those near; snakes elbow-knees

pot-bellied underneath

the buzzing line of fire

through screams, pooled blood:

Afghanistan encore --

the arid rocky ridge

mud village maze become

trans-gendered urban pub --

he fells the bearlike shooter;

stomps him nearly dead.

The reflex here

ignoring fear

and cordite air

perhaps a metaphor

for courage torn from war.

Or war

The Raven's Perch, 25 March 2023

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