hero (for my father)

    My father was decorated for heroism in WWII. Although he didn’t talk much about it, I know that the trauma of war changed him. Over the years he spoke less and less of the war; less about everything in general. And he never spoke of the circumstances that won him the Silver Star. I suspect he felt some shame for being called a hero when so many other heroes didn’t make it back alive. This poem appears in POETSWEST ONLINE
, Volume XVIII, No. 2. Check it out.

    hero (for my father)

    There was a time when
    the words flowed out of you
    like a raging river
    before you went west

    to build the great monuments
    before the war in Africa
    where unspeakable acts
    took away your words

    not all at once
    but slowly
    until you could speak
    only through me

    relying on my voice
    to tell the truth
    about what you did
    the shame you wore

    in the ribbons of a hero
    you never were
    only a man killing to live
    that you might return home
    to be reunited
    with your humanity

2 thoughts on “hero (for my father)

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