Death for Beginners

Ten thousand fold is only a measure of the
army’s size, not of everyone in it. There are
sixty-two men who would not mind dying.
Another seventy who are simply willing. They
have all drunk tea at one time, though only half
prefer lemon cake to walnut.
Many are waiting for women to come back.
Dreaming vividly in the meantime of nicely
laid out tables and pressed laundry sitting
on their feet when they wake in the morning.
Instead a truck in the driveway, waiting.

Now they are here, they are reluctant. Though
at the time the contract was drawn up, dying
seemed like the ultimate form of control.
They heard voices from the tree line. They
felt hands on the shields they gripped
gripping them back. Their feet raced
backwards down the hill they were racing
up, their minds pin wheeling away.

Vivienne Mohan


Vivienne Mohan is a nineteen-year-old Queensland poet. She began writing in 2016 and in that same year was the runner-up of the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Competition for an unpublished first manuscript.

© 2018