poetryrepairs 15,04:046

ABIGAIL B. CALKIN Soul of my Soldier
:The Wall
: Change
: 31

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The Wall

The Wall teems with life. People walk reflections in color against line after line of names Ulysses Battle, +John M. Brucher, Rodney M. Chapman, Virgil C. Combs, John P. Cook, Gerald A. Gray, … I want to be alone to respect the names of those who died in field, en route, in hospital, in mud of delta, in jungles of the Highlands under hands of doctors of twenty-eight, nurses twenty-two and surgical techs in their teens or surgeons who triaged on the floor in the corner while others saved someone else's son. Your name is not there and that has made all the difference in my life. Last year Emmanuel, a taxi driver, took me to The Wall. Go, go see your husband's friends. I left everything on the seat. Ran past the walk turned to blurt a cry of tears as the black granite V cut the gut of ground, caught my eye, and punched my lungs. I tipped him all I had, $8 for a $12 fare. I'd have tipped him $50 if I'd had it. Today my husband lives and nameless, countless others too. I know no name on that Wall but they are husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, comrades-in-arms. In that black granite gut of a V, also lies my husband’s innocence and that of his comrades. James Carlson, Layne Clifton, James L. Hull, Paul Sheer…

poetryrepairs #211 15,04:046


You enlisted as a private, retired as a major, but the USA didn’t want you to remember what changed you. Now you’ve forgotten— not deep inside your war-laden neurons but in your daily life. How much does it take not to remember those moments?

poetryrepairs #211 15,04:046


In memory of the 31 lost in the helicopter crashes of August 2011
31 lost 31 doors Receive that dreaded knock, Unwanted visit Leave families with shattered hearts 31 pairs of boots lined up with rifles and dog tags and helmets Comrades grieved for and remembered 31 funerals Names on newly made grave markers 31 empty places at the table 31 souls who gave all, whose deaths leave a void. Take 31 days and months
—Pause Reflect on—
Sacrifices of 31 lives gone forever.

poetryrepairs #211 15,04:046

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