What Do I Know of War?

(In honor of those who served and sacrificed their lives for our freedom)

What do I know of war?
Battleships babysit the ocean and merge with the horizon,
guarding, protecting from bully attacks.

I kneel on sand, not powder soft,
but crunchy sometimes, sharp sometimes, exploding with life sometimes,
as a sand crab scuttles out of hiding,
as a boy digs deep trenches around a sand-dripped fort.

I kneel on sand, and waves charge at me...
unsuspecting—I am submerged;
cold water numbs my limbs, applies seaweed bandages.
The undercurrent tugs at my ankles like a child at her mother’s side, demanding attention.
Water wants to tow me in, but I’m stronger and win the battle.
I kneel on the sand in peace.

What do I know of war?
Letters written to lovers,
black and white hazy photos,
gruesome films, stories told of soldiers fighting with numb hearts
from trenches, jungles, caves, deserts,
hiding in tanks like turtles crossing at a steady pace.

A soldier waits, trigger ready, heart pounding, adrenaline surging;
on knees he prays, hopes to kiss his wife again,
hopes to watch his daughter grow.
Sharp pain pierces skin, veins, muscle;
borrowed bandages from dead men’s wounds, applied
while death explodes so close. Too close.

What do I know of war?
Stronger weapons may win the battle
but no one wins the war when graves are full
of mothers, fathers, and children,
of soldiers who had to kill to live;
but I live in peace because someone I don’t know
knows of war.
(written for Faithwriters.com)



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