now the Captain called me to his bed
he fumbled for my hand
"take these silver bars," he said
"I'm giving you command."
"command of what, there's no one here
there's only you and me --
all the rest are dead or in retreat
or with the enemy."
"complain, complain, that's all you've done
ever since we lost
if it's not the crucifixion
then it's the holocaust."
"may christ have mercy on your soul
for making such a joke
amid these hearts that burn like coal
and the flesh that rose like smoke."