To Mary Oliver and Returning Soldiers

My lips are shaking
my hands are tied.

“I’m cold,” a whisper softly whimpered.

“Too bad.” in a fearful tone.

They say that prisoners of war don’t know what’s going to happen next, but they keep their heads up. Watching, waiting and thinking about how to survive. If you give up hope, you’re already dead. I remember Mom sharing Mary Oliver

as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.

I don’t regret my choice
to join the cause, I
just wonder if people
will believe me.

Doc said my leg will be fine
just scarred, and I ask about my
head and he just shrugs.

“Living is what I needed.
I couldn’t give up.” I tell
my daughter as she’s already asleep.

“Your Dad is weird.” in a sassy, childish voice

“I know, but he’s alive.” in a confident, adult-like tone.

I guess if there’s anything I wish I could change, it’d be nothing.

I see a therapist once a week
and talk about things that
make me smile,

rather than the economy
of the lives of poets.

My father says he’s proud of me
and I smile like a little kid
who’s happy to see her Daddy.

I still salute
and I still smile
and I’m still alive.

To Mary Oliver and Returning Soldiers

Misunderstood24

Albany, United States

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