for Dave

for Dave
I heard you died
of a massive heart attack.

Married to my mother
her last ten years of life,
she was your older woman,
you her younger man.
You were a Vietnam vet,
not much older than I.
your injuries were many,
some unseen.
We had this conversation once:
if we had known one another
in the 70’s
I’d be marching in the street
and you’d be in those jungles.
Believe me, we were both
impacted by that war;
granted, your wounds
were deeper.
You drank some of them

I said I was on your side,
against the killing and
all that was unnecessary,
not about you
and the role you had to play.
I don’t think you
believed me.

Now I stand before your coffin
draped in a American flag,
because you wanted it
that way.
An honor guard
came to your visitation,
the funeral home
transformed into a
little Army moment.

They saluted you
with words, a cross, and flowers;
they gave your youngest son
a special Bible.
I know you would have liked it,
been proud,
felt fulfilled.
You outlived that war, Dave,
but it never left you.
I could sense your
scars over the years.

Even though your
coffin didn’t allow a final look,
I swear your smile
was bittersweet.

3 responses to “for Dave

  1. Phebe, I am so sorry for your loss. Your poem is a beautiful tribute. Your kind heart shines through it.

  2. Rashma N. Kalsie

    A beautiful tribute to the man and your friendship. May be our friendhips outlive us?

  3. This is a beautiful tribute. I am enjoying your blog, Phebe!

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