R B Seals
Fragment Of War (Veterans Day) - Poem by R B Seals
In neighboring park, beneath the
sunlit, pink and white canopy
of the blossoming cherry trees
an older man bent and gray,
clothed in everyday attire, sits
alone, poised in reflective stance,
blending nondescript, sometimes
invisible on weathered, teal-colored
bench, in filtered light of midday.
he reaches down to
embrace his distal thigh.
Gently, he kneads the crafted,
circular mound that once
joined to knee and leg—
the ever-present reminder
of a war long-ago fought and
the nightmares that never die.
Sometimes, he can still see it:
the appendage, as it was
—strong, essential, vital—
before the perversity of combat and
consequent IVs, clamps and sutures.
Indeed, a strong reminder of before:
before the call to duty and the oath,
before the glory and the sacrifice
before realities of an unforeseen
outcome and uncertain future.
Despite the many years,
the remnant still toys with him
playing phantom games, and for brief
moments, the limb seems to return—
a cold and callous reminder of a former
self abruptly snatched from his person,
featured in Technicolor flashbacks—
reruns that smolder, ignite and burn.
Close by, crutches standby as helpful,
trustworthy and dedicated servants
—strong, ready, supportive—
and like the warrior they serve, a
little less kept, a little more worn out.
Like their keeper, the years of wear
and tear, reflect on a life "lived"
moving toward growing decline and
obscurity, unlike the tides of war no
chance to evade, flank, or turnabout.
Passersby come and go,
paying little notice the flawed,
faceless form bending on bench:
another nameless, homeless person
presumed looking for handouts,
judged, "another burden on society."
No matter the many who gave up
their youth, goals and dreams to
preserve a nation's way of life;
no matter the sacrifices of those
who would lose a limb, a life, or
a love preserving freedoms others
not in step would take for granted...
Heck, just another burden on society!
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