Shackled By Their Loss.

Shackled by their loss.


To all my brothers-in-arm

who sleep in the jungles and seas,
who are missing in action

or were prisoners of war.

| | | | | | | | | | | | | 
I have wrapped my care

for you around my wrist,
and have worn it many years

against my pulse,

which still beats strong,

though yours might now be stilled.

| | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

Yet still I will wear

your cause, in stainless steel,

this brace- that -lets me

note your absense and gives

some modicum of comfort

and makes me realize how

fortunate I am to not have been

one of you the missing,

the unknown, the forgotten.

| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

Like mis-carried babes,

 eighteen years old and up,
your parents lost you

late in your childhood,
but lost you nevertheless,

after knowing the holding of you,

the joy of your precious love.
and the awful letting go,

but with no body to hold once more.


No closure, no grave,

just empty words and flags,

draped over empty boxes

of your personal effects.


It is for you that I wear

 this bracelett and for your families.

They will bury me wearing it,

but at least I will be buried.


Your bones lie scattered

over sea floors and jungle rot,
in places known but to God,

yet duly noted.




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