Purple Heart

Written by: John Heck

Morning glowed, Phillip.
A purple fire burned beacon bright
against the stinging stench of napalm.

A thick thistle - two feet from your head,
wordless in speech, watched 
with dark misfortune
curving letters of prayer 
above your bleeding valor.

A crumpled martyr lying there,
innocent as a schoolboy
amidst the blare of gunfire -
asleep in our country’s eyes
dormant in the arms of an adopted comrade.

I held you - lost brother - tucked inside my soul;
nineteen and breathless.

The tears inside my empty lungs
spilled so softly onto your forehead
as I knelt in the center of August’s cancerous garden;
staring at the mud stained badge
nestled peacefully above your silenced heart.

I slowly ingested and tasted your
bullet-ridden honor, as I was viscerally blinded
by the sickening, piercing strobes
of a delicate mourning's
glow.