Casualties of War
This winter I will think of them often,
those battle stars and battle scarred
who are danced by death. Under a stainless
moon, I will chant their names into collective
memory, light candles for those with no
names so they do not die alone.
In the time of cold, I will warm
their families, take vows of peace.
In the time of rain, I will dry their tears,
rebuild their houses--pay homage to the blood
and broken dreams that stain our honor.
I will carry with me in a pocket filled
with headstones, the luminous eyes
of a child without hope, the yearning
to go home on a young soldier’s face.
I would go to their villages, plant flowers
near their walls, ask for forgiveness.
The wine of destruction is a heady brew,
fomented by grapes of wrath. Drunk
with the death of enemies, lovers
of battle have deadened themselves.
I will not watch the river until they are sober
nor forget the sounds of war.