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Jennifer Matthews


PTSD


Paralyzing fear envelops you in the
murky, dark world that you cling to.
Afraid of what you may see when you
open your eyes in the thick jungles
where those who perished still haunt
the lands.

You tremble, seizures of guilt and shame
wrap around you like the American flag you
hang so proudly, in honor of your service
and in memory of those who didn't make the
journey with you. You are the limbs that they
lost, as you tread through this world of
illusion. But the light is real, and so is
your struggle.

The light that you so desperately want to welcome
and warm you is at your command, but that
darkness, a world we most pray never to see, in your
own dreams and memories, protect you, a cloak; an armor
that shields you from others who see you as something
less than what you are. You are not damaged remains
returning from the depths of hell, but instead a hero
standing resolute, like the hills and beaches you
protected.

Forgive yourself, as you are more than the trigger
finger that shot at the enemy and the innocents that
stood beside them.
Those of us you fought for, welcome you out of the dark,
and into the world of light that you have earned a place in.
We thank you and for all you gave.

5/29/14

Submitted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Topic of this poem: War


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I was inspired to write this poem by a friend, often misunderstood; someone who lives with the trauma of war every day. So to Art, friend and Marine for life, others who care reach out for those arms that understand you most clearly. Kindred spirit and poet in your own right, I will always 'get' you. You are never alone. Jen

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