Victims of Other Wars
On the way to your dinner, you pass the graveyard.
Flags and flowers dot the headstones,
splashes of color against the washed out marble.
It is Memorial day,
fraught with gratitude and sadness.
Later in the day, there will be parades.
Bands and banners will flutter in the wind.
The apostle’s word echoes, “no greater love”.
You park the car and sit for a moment.
The air has a hint of coolness,
a brief mourning for strangers
who loved as they fought.
You drive on, your mind full of victims
of other wars.
The trauma of their broken lives,
abuse in all its forms. You are surrounded by it.
Broken children in grey-haired bodies
Broken children touched and tortured like ragdolls,
and discarded to find their healing
There will be no parades for them.
Their quest for love seeping pain,
unable to live, wounded in secret,
Left to heal in secret, they live and die
in unmarked graves,
even as they live and breath and cry.
About this poem
The apostle in the poem is John, the author of the gospel and the book of Revelation. It reads “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for those he loves.” In my mind that is the story of Memorial Day.
There are other wars than the ones we give names. My life the past ten years has exposed me to more and more broken people, broken by every kind of abuse imaginable. A secret war, with more victims than we know.