Memorial Day


The westering sun spills caramel warmth
across the marble graves laid out in lines.
I see the fountain pool drank deeply
of the rain storm last night.
Nothing but solitude in the garden,
save for myself and my memories.

I’m used to treasures and ghosts,
in my head they are the norm.
Looking for consolation, interlocked destinies,
and the promise that it was all worthwhile.
Those that gave all they had
float above my head, battling for the right
to stand with me,
speak for me.

In places with names both exotic and mundane
they faced their fears and did what they must,
both taking and giving all that any person is able,
so that we might enjoy a bit of holiday with the kids,
firing up the grill, instead of an armored position.

Some have left behind cluttered lives,
unfolded hearts, and scattered dreams.
Some had nothing whatever to leave, save pain,
yet others left everything, and were missed
by those who would know no further kisses,
no fervent clutches of the heart,
no further generations to bear the same honors.

The time will come when they will rest,
hovering in anticipation of our right decisions.
When the tickertape has past
and the smoky grills have cooled,
the beaches that drank their blood will dry,
the mountains that took their scars will heal smooth
and a new generation that holds duty before safety
will emerge to serve someone else’s cause.

All that we can do, we many who lost you few,
is hold your gift lovingly in our hearts.
Mere thanks is scant payment indeed, yet,
what else can we offer?
In my own heart, I can offer the truth,
that you have done what I have not.
That your sacrifices will not have been in vain,
I will whisper your deeds into children’s ears
and carve my gratitude onto my soul.

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