two teenage boys at a rural check-point
dancing in the road to a red transistor
rifles slung down from their shoulders
manning this post for a twelve-month tour
with little to hope for but the cigarettes
and biros they’d beg from passing drivers
but at the check-point our two worlds met
turning off the radio, they were soldiers
as serious as if their officer was watching
formal greetings would be exchanged
the only words we knew, even our ID card
was in a language they couldn’t understand
their duty done, they’d wave us through
we’d watch them in the rear-view mirror
stood chewing the gum we’d given them
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