Waiting for My Friends to Die

“False is the vaunt of the victors, empty our living pride.
For those who fell there is no hell, not for the brave who died.”
– PFC Robert Leckie



I was standing there one day in the Afghan sun
in a truck, out of luck, just standing behind my gun.

I saw my friends get out on to the moondust soil,
toward the copper wire that was laid out, stretched, uncoiled.

A rocket was fired and missed my truck’s front end.
It twirled and swirled and landed behind my friend.

An ambush! Machine guns fire like a metronome, hitting tink tink tink.
As bullets struck the side of my truck, they inspired me to think.

I said, “What the fuck are we doing here? Are we here just on a lie?”
And in that fear, it became clear: I’m just waiting for my friends to die.

But the guys who managed to make it back, those lucky enough to survive,
They made it home, but still felt alone, trying to find new lives.

Then one day in my cubicle, I saw that my phone had rung
My hands started to shake, my heart to quake. The tears had already begun.

As my knees were buckling and I was slumping to the ground
My tongue felt fake, my voice couldn’t make anything but a moaning sound.

I guess my friend had missed the memo–the war was won, not lost!
But blood was spilled, friends were killed, and that was not the only cost.

I thought that we’d be safer here, no Taliban wanting us dead.
Invasive memories he tried not to see as he put the gun to his head.

I can’t tell you what had pushed him there, I simply cannot lie.
To my dismay, even in the USA, I’m still waiting for my friends to die.


Writer: Zachary Kam is a second year student at Fullerton College and a two-time Marine veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan. He is pursuing a degree in Journalism and hopes to transfer to UCI in the fall of 2016.

Artist: Lin Greene has been excited about photography since childhood, leading to many blurry pictures on his parent’s film cameras. After learning how to use digital cameras from blogs, he is now enhancing his techniques at Cypress College under Professor Gregory Rager.



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