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The Things Never Said

The Things Never Said The terror… The only things ever said about my daddy’s WWII service were that he’d been to New Guinea where he’d ridden on a truck full of soldiers by a river without a name in which it was oft said he’d lost my mother’s wedding ring like the big thing about his service that had no describing was the horror of illness he came home with both mentally and physically… so affected that my grandparents gave their son-in-law their own bedroom as refuge large and well-lit with windows overlooking a main thoroughfare of the little town from which they say he’d gone the first to enlist in the war he brought fully home to their bedroom from which he would not leave for six months receiving no visitors so upset so gone from his own nature he would never speak the vast notes of his service telling nothing in avoiding others while as could forever on be seen on the discoloring light-orange blotches that marked the length of his legs on to be seen like tattooed scaring reminders of war’s disease inescapable. War with ongoing horror… Then my brother straight out of college enlisted for Vietnam despite my mother’s urging him to go to Canada his action of enlisting done to please my father so she said that enlisting helped him get army work in tents bordering battles typing forms except for when in the only thing he reported from the world of Agent Orange was he was among the stream of ranks marching into Cambodia the very same week President Nixon here announced we were not in Cambodia. War still voiceless… Our son Sean did two tours in Iraq so wrenching and despicable were the airport waiting areas to see him off with his gear all light brown to disappear against the sand from where he did tell some lines about being a tank gunner about the firing and flaring this was our son without any way to rescue him from the unknown of himself and his present tensions of war or all he never said but with emphatic descriptions told us concerning the unrelenting attacks of the insects never gone from the Iraqi sand while altogether blasts unexpected continued the war with no escape no winning out over all the terror of enemies to survive to go home again to try to forget. War untold… My dear friend’s father was a veterinarian sent to WWII Philippines in time captured and sent for human endurance trial of the Baa-ta’an Death March for which language has no words his voice did not speak of the beyond how time can lose months and years in three prisoner-of-war camps one being the Billibid so hated it is said the Philippine people smuggled what rice they could gather into the prisoners whose stories as his never dared the telling gone lost in a map of hopefully dying areas of the mind during his long months of recovery at home with his parents in quiet Indiana. War remains…in silence… Some things are never told secrets gone buried as if into another self or into a parallel universe thrown out to the stars banned from any existence by sharing by telling banned into a deadened dark corner never having been explained therefore maybe to a never-was unreal lost and no more than the only known-to-self or callings to God. (c) sally Young eslinger11/2020

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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Date: 11/23/2020 10:51:00 AM
We don't talk about them because we don't want to remember horrible things. Aloha! Rico
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Sally Eslinger
Date: 11/30/2020 8:41:00 AM
Hi, Rico! Your comment made me cry. What you said was precisely the point of the poem. It stemmed from how adults know better than even to ask, but , like when I was around 12 and found out dad served a child willask about it. This is an anti-war poem. Thanks for reading it and commenting.