Decades later, there are days when it is forgotten,
until some flickering image or incoherent sound
commands an unwanted replay of the old news.
Silent whispers in the dead of night recreate
those moments when images of family flash past,
preceding playback of combat that destroys my peace.
Then, violent shadows of lonely death haunt me.
The winged missiles that seek out ships,
bring the rage of fire, flood and smoke –
backdrop for the cries of wounded men,
and the quiet of sudden death.
The silvery screening of those tiny airplanes, searching
for my ship, my fellow seafarers, transfixes me.
Sweat glistens, body hair stands up I’m holding my breath.
Honey, she says, leaning across the settee,
Come back, talk to me – please.
So many years on,
and my silent, lost comrades will not let me speak.