By Michael Luketich
PROMPT — Who am I today?
I start with a confession:
I started with a lie.
I am not Michael Luketich:
not on any government document,
not to any friend or colleague,
not to anyone who is real to me.
But you are not real to me,
so, to you, I’m Michael Luketich.
Before I split who I claim to be
from who I am, I was neither:
They say that war is hell. Perhaps.
In hell who you appeared to be
on the surface matters less than who
you were. In war, uniforms reveal
variations. Many soldiers look alike:
Sprockets in a vast machine, poorly QC’d.
Some spin dutifully forever, others
fail upon the first moment of stress.
All look alike.
I wore a uniform that bore my name,
the name you do not know
the name on government documents
the name called by friends and colleagues
the name real to me.
But I was neither me, nor the me
presented to you, Michael Luketich.
For a while, life was dark and being
seemed less than not being me:
the body left behind the uniform
had duties and talents and owed:
blood to some, money to others,
existence to many: many debts made
light work of meager stores, as
tides come and go with regularity,
so too did my good days and my bad.
That’s the thing about waves.
All are alike.
To you, I’m Michael Luketich:
even though you know I’m not.
For you have no other name
to call me, which puts you
at something of a disadvantaged
position: the low ground, the open
coverless field. While I remain
hidden, a sniper knowing I have
one shot to catch your attention:
made with just the tiniest breath
before emptying air in a trough.
Michael Luketich holds undergraduate degrees in journalism and economics from Ohio University and a law degree from NYU. An Air Force veteran, he has lived in the desert, the jungle, and many places in between. Michael currently writes from Niceville, Florida.