Friday, February 25, 2011
He’s never invited to our table, on base, in housing, with the kids.
He is not welcome to knock on my door, nor my neighbors’ doors
Nor my friends’, nor wanted on a visit to anyone I know.
Yet he sneaks in anyway
Or blows in on a scrap of paper
Or on the evening news
Or in a chance phone call
And he still knocks with the fist of the uniformed
The warm hand of a rabbi, priest, pastor.
Dear God. No.
If he announces his visit ahead of time,
We fight like muddy Marines in trenches,
Like top guns on ACMs over the Mekong,
Like sailors refusing to give up the ship,
We struggle to our last breath
To prevent him overrunning our position.
He dresses in flames and blood, sometimes in mystery
Often in black as tears or red as sobs or gray as grief.
I try not to think of him.
I never remember when he ends his visit.
Even when he has come and gone, he lingers.
And his specter follows me all the days of my life.
When my guy goes out the door,
He sits with me
With the ghosts he came for, before.