I had been back home ten years
when I read in a history of the war
that the man I had killed that July morning
had been a teacher and poet.
He had been the only son of a poor farmer.
He had married young and raised four children.
I had been looking for information on him
since finding his name, some pictures,
and a notepad with three lines written on it
stuffed in his dirty and frayed knapsack.
When we shot each other that day
only his wound was fatal.
From where I lay bleeding
I watched him stare at me as if in disbelief
and then die.
I had the lines on the note translated
when I had recovered
and the words made me want to know about the man:
“this human acting the beast…
obeying the evil…