Our Soldier Son
Our Soldier Son
We sat together in the front row
At airport gate number five
(his father and I),
Watching as he paced
Toward the exiting corridor.
Then at the opening of that
Passage, he stepped to turn about-face,
Returning his way back to us.
He had brought Iraq along with him — blown,
Thrown in with him,an illusory, yet
Unignorable, oppressive envelope, seen
Quickly by his uniform
(not army green),
From shoulders to feet,
The color of dune sand —
A neutral color, negligible,
Meant for fading away
Into invisibility —
But, still, bearing within it, a human being,
Breathing in the reality of war…
This time in Iraq.
Ready to fly off for his 2nd tour there:
Tank gunner; despising
the unrelenting sand bugs;
only ever asking for clean socks.
He continued his pacing-march
Already on the way,
Already outfitted to seem part of a sandstorm
— light, only essence; a reality elsewhere;
a heart guarded;
a soul on hold; ears alert for commands,
And now for a call to begin boarding.
We were silent as he hoisted his gear, although
We rushed to him
As if we could be of any help.
What? What, dear Lord, do you say
Sending a son off on a flight
Back to war?
Words are all inadequate —
Though they must be said.
Hugs cannot enfold the love’s totality,
nor could hold him
Back from going,
But the motions must be made.
There was our silent gift
Of faith, to him, to ourselves,
For his safe return.
Faith is held for many things
From survival to resurrection.
The memories are kept.
The present is paced.
The future is hope.
(c)sally young Eslinger 11/12/21
Thanks be to God
Copyright © Sally Eslinger | Year Posted 2021
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