Somewhere 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 to him.
He’s memorized every word, read between every line so often it’s merged with the next in a confused gray.
Three weeks and nothing.
Not a note, not an email, not a text.
He looks to the broad 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.
From behind a bush, a lone survivor sees them crushing children’s toys underfoot while laughing at the fall of former friends.

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

I pray
we’ll have no need to remember the lives lost in wars close and far,
that new memories will be forged, will grow clean and pure like the tiny pines bending in a simple breeze
on a mountainside
once charred but now bringing forth hope.

Somewhere . . .
Someday . . .



17 thoughts on “Somewhere today

  1. Pari

    Wow. I’m grateful that you all have responded to it the way I meant it.

    Truly heartfelt.

    In New Mexico today, we’re flying our flags at half mast to commemorate the death of one of the last Navajo Code Talkers who lived and died here.

    I can’t think of war — the sacrifices and horror of it — without sorrow. My gratitude to those who have fought isn’t diminished by my basic stance about the incredible somberness of this "holiday."

  2. kit

    with your permission I would like to re-post this on my facebook page…..I have several friends and family that were in the military…and some still are or working with them…in a civilain capacity….I also had two brothers stationed in Nam at the same time….I was just a lil’ kid at the time. even if I am unable to’s powerful writing ..thank you.

  3. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Thank you, Pari. Your words made me stop, and think, and feel. It reads like a prayer.

  4. B.G. Ritts

    My thanks to those who have and who are keeping watch for us.

    Pari, what a powerful essay today. In spite of the levity with which I have seen some use the phrase, "war is hell," it truly is. All one had to do was watch the National Memorial Day Concert from the Capitol last night.

  5. Pari

    I remember talking with Tony Hillerman about his experience in WWII. Not a single thing about it was pleasant or glamorous; it was HELL.

    And, yes, THANK YOU to all who serve and have served.


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