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Plan B

by Mike "Mule" Mullane

My sanity
 has always been
like a balloon on a string,

a gift
from my parents
when I was a little boy.

I had to 
on holding the string.

If I let my mind wander,
even for a moment,
it would slip through my fingers,

bobbing, up
an away,
out of reach

before I could
snatch it back.
Gone forever.

Later, when I must think
about such things
it is clear

I am more afraid 
of being a prisoner
than of dying

Death means no more
threat, pain, fear,
or failure.

So, plan A
is death
not capture.

But, can I?
Will I?
Maybe not.

In training, they told us
about the POW's in Korea
who went crazy.

Broken beyond repair,
any usefulness gone, 
they were left alone.
And so, if I can't pull the trigger,
Plan B is: Let go of the string.

But my luck holds.
That is a hell
I never have to visit,

and here I am,
still clutching,
the string.