November 11, 2010

The Colors of War

The Colors of War

They fight in his land not mine
because our skies are beautiful and spacious
where enemies can’t hide behind shafts of amber grain
or breathe the same air we breathe
beneath the same golden sun where
young men were never taught how to die
or turn purple beneath a pale blue sky
or make a young woman cry, or ask
what if the lights went dim
how would I know his land from mine?

Thirty five years later, I can close my eyes and recall it all.
At the corner of time I stood beside a bed wearing a simple white dress.
The young man lay in front of me, soft baby face touched by dark shadows,
eyes smiling gently as a summer breeze, “Please” he said, “go ahead.”
I peeled the sheet back from his chest, my hand whispering a caress,
expecting to touch flesh, instead met by a cold wet field,
red stains seeping from gauze and tape.
Pits and raw jagged scars replaced silken sinew,
legs now stumps, only a torso.
“I have a Purple Heart you know.”
Blue eyes blankly stared beyond my amber gaze and I cried,
blood stains wept across my nurse’s dress.
All because he stepped on a land mine,
in a land that was neither his nor mine.

Dad and Mom 1944
Army Navy Game Day
San, Juan, Puerto Rico

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