Burying the Old Soldier

By 13th October 2011December 9th, 2019No Comments

I boxed Dad’s suits
starched white shirts
two pairs of black shoes
stacks of white handkerchiefs

Crammed plastic bags
with pill bottles, Metamucil,
Ensure, hospice fliers,

Shed tears at ashtrays,
carved pipes, a humidor:
he hadn’t smoked in decades
still, it smelled of Prince Albert Cherry.

In the closet,
piles of photos
a ragged New Testament
efficiency reports

a tissue-wrapped
1944 Eisenhower jacket
with the crossed muskets
an overseas cap.

World War II medals
pages of brittle paper
margin to margin
with names identified by nation:

Dad’s child-prayers
for ruined bodies
broken spirits
scribbled by a twenty-year-old,

into the soul
of the old man
who bore their ghosts.

Jean M. Hendrickson

Author Jean M. Hendrickson

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