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Forgive Me

PLEASE FORGIVE ME
for not remembering your name

i know it is here somewhere on the West Wall
probably around panel 20

i remember your face, your smile
as you showed me the picture of your wife and new baby

i remember how they teased the new papasan
as you danced around that desolate firebase laughing

i remember walking into ICU 
as they unwrapped the gory stump that was your leg

and i remember my sorrow when the nurse whispered,
"expectant - he was already in a body bag
when the medic noticed slight breathing"

PLEASE FORGIVE ME
for not staying

i wanted to hold your hand and tell you
to hang in there for your wife and new baby

but the nurses and doctors surrounded you
trying to keep you alive

and i would have only been in the way
so i told the nurse i would check on you later

PLEASE FORGIVE ME
for not returning

i just did not want to know
that another wife would receive that knock on the door
confirming her worst fears

i couldn't bear to know that another child
would grow up having never known his Father

for i had an early take off the next morning
to fly to another desolate firebase
to laugh and dance with other soldiers
before they too were killed

PLEASE FORGIVE ME			

emily strange
1989
 

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