Call and Response

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in 2013, Choken Word, Featured, Peace, psychology, Survival, Truth, WAR


I took centuries from you
as you waited patiently
knowing I would not return.

Years, became months between
the day, I began to prepare again,
sharpening knives for distant lands,
then the day came when, my letter and
body returned by horseback.

It seemed like that happened
again, and again
and then, once
I came back without a leg,
my crutches held up more than
that lost limb,
with scars deeper than any flesh.

The last time, I remember
I had not even a year between
your kissing me goodbye
as I boarded the bus,
seeing you cry from my seat with
gear stacked head high,
I hid a thumbdrive
full of our memories
to look at each night.

We talked on the phone.
We Skyped as our children grew.
I could see you off to school
as my shift began anew,
on the other side of the planet.
One morning, finally, I remember
telling you I was scared.
That day changed it all, again.

The last time, you picked me up in
formation after I marched off the plane.
As we embraced you could tell I had
changed. My touch was cold
my face hardened.
No smile ever emerged again.

Now I walk the house at 0100 hours,
on guard duty downstairs in the kitchen.
Thinking of the enemy outside
I installed cameras on our perimeter.
We both know, I am here
but still over there.

On simpler nights I might
be with you for a moment
before I see or hear
something pedestrian that
fills me with horror.
You can barely hug me (goodbye)
before, I close my eyes to hide.

(to Margaret Atwood)


Leave a Reply