Somewhere today . . .

Dear ‘Rati, 

I wrote this poem last year. It still expresses what Memorial Day means to me better than anything I’ve written before or since.
So please pardon the repetition. And if you know a soldier, or someone who awaits a loved one’s return, or someone who knows that will never happen again . . . please give that person a little extra love today.

by Pari


Somewhere today a young woman sits in a muddy blind, her uniform wet through.
She knows she needs to pay attention to what’s happening, that she has to distinguish between a clap of thunder and the burst of a gun.
But all she can do is think of her baby graduating from kindergarten back home . . . without her. 

Somewhere today a boy reaches for an automatic with only one hand.
The wind blows dust into his teeth and eyes.
He manages to prop his weapon against a sand-filled sack, using the stump of his other arm—the one where the rebels sliced it off at the elbow—to keep the rifle steady.

Somewhere today a mother waits on the tarmac, watching the military plane land.
It bounces two times on the runway.
Her son would’ve laughed at that.
Through the blur of tired and salty tears, she sees them lift the unadorned casket. 

Somewhere today a father stares at the last letter his daughter sent him.
He has memorized every word, read between every line so often it has merged with the next in a confused gray.
Three weeks and nothing.
Not a note, not an email, no text.
He looks to the blue sky and wonders where she is, if she’s all right.

Somewhere today a young woman is shot in a border town
– wrong place, wrong time –
the “collateral damage” of a drug war she’s never played a part in.

Somewhere today a group of young men claim a village for their tribe
kicking children’s toys aside in the abandoned huts of former friends.

Somewhere today war will blast dreams away
cut lives short
and make sorrows long.

I pray
we’ll have no need for this holiday.


15 thoughts on “Somewhere today . . .

  1. PK the Bookeemonster

    My husband and I watched the movie Taking Chance last night. Though the Montana airport they landed in was not Billings (it was Bozeman), the film makers seemed to get the respect of the military right. Vets and those currently serving are special. Without stomping on toes, I urge you to be proud and fly the American flag.

  2. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Thanks, Pari. Very powerful and thoughtful poem. Every stanza put me in the world you described. Got my tear factory going.

  3. pari noskin taichert

    Cornelia, JD and Stephen,
    Thank you. I was getting reading to write another piece and then thought, "Why mess with one that expresses exactly what I want it to? "

    I haven’t seen that movie yet. Sounds like I should . . .

    I’ll watch that video later today, after errands. Thank you for forwarding it.

    Best of luck with your job searches; today of all days, that’s not where my heart is. It’s with those for whom Memorial Day is too close to home.

  4. Paula R.

    Pari, this is great.

    As a former soldier, it is much appreciated. Have a wonderful rest of the day everyone. Remember always, that "Freedom isn’t free!"

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  5. Lil Gluckstern

    How very beautiful, and worth repeating, and my wishes for peace reflect yours-through the tears-for those who wait and for all those lost. Thank you.

  6. Eika

    My best friend, just twenty years old, is in Afghanistan right now. She’s an EMT in an area where people are told to shoot the medics first. The fourth stanza, about the father staring at the letter? I know that feeling. She has internet, sometimes, but can’t communicate anything through phone and not a single letter’s made it through from either side (me to her or her to me)… the first six weeks she went over, there was literally no contact at all.

    Know what gets me? People think about the children, parents, spouses, and siblings of soldiers. Not friends. Before she left, D told me that, if she died, I was in charge of the trust fund for her younger brother instead of her mother because she trusted me more; if she does die, I’ll find out through one of my (daily) internet searches, because I won’t get a phone call, letter, or e-mail from the military, and I doubt I’ll get any notice from her family.

    And I pray every day she’ll get home safe.

  7. pari noskin taichert

    Oh, man, Eika,
    You are SO right. Thank you for expressing that. I might try to write another stanza for next year. In the meantime, my heart is with you and your friend. Truly.

    Rebbie and Carl,
    Thank you.


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