Aphelion Issue 230, Volume 22
July 2018
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A Tough Tussle

by Ron Larson

Adapted from a story by Ambrose Bierce

Private Grayson was sitting on a log beneath a tree.
In the dim moonlight, he thought he saw a body.
After a quick inspection, he learned it was a rebel.
He then returned to guard duty, chilled to his soul.

As minutes passed, Grayson tried to look away from it.
And each time he looked, he thought it’d moved a bit.
He felt pain in his right hand; he’d gripped his sword tight.
It was the final night of Private Grayson’s short life.

At dawn, the captain and surgeon found two men dead.
“It musta been a real tough tussle,” the captain said.
“That’s what it looks like,” the army surgeon replied,
“Yet, there’s a stink regardin’ when one of ‘em died.”

2017 Ron Larson

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