Army Mom’s Safe Haven

Christina

THE SUITCASE AND THE DUFFLE BAG

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: Tuesday August 7, 2001
Awarded: Tuesday August 7, 2001

Vietnam Veterans World Wide Brotherhood Award for War Poetry Excellence
Awarded: January 6, 2003
Once, some long lost age ago,
my husband left for war –
It was only called a “conflict”
So I wondered just what for…

At some point, or another
he must have packed his gear-
I don’t remember helping him,
just watching him, with fear…

Off he went, with one small wave
and I waited for a year.
Michael began to walk and talk
and I wished his dad were here.

At some point in the fairy tale
my husband did come home
He had a duffle bag this time
and came back home, alone.

But, in the middle of the story
I flew off pretty far –
from P A to Hawaii,
for his two week R & R

My suitcase never emptied then
It was filled with memories…
I emptied it when I got home,
could smell the tropic breeze…

I have pictures of me, somewhere,
in a 2 piece bathing suit
flashing him the “V” sign
and giving a salute –-------

and every day in Paradise
we loved and laughed and talked –
(he was already different,
even in the way he walked…)

When I got home, I put my case
high upon the bedroom shelf –
until he got home from Vietnam,
where he had lost himself.

Of course, I didn’t know that yet.
We were transferred to a base;
by then he was so very strange
that I felt out of place…

I had that suitcase many years –
got rid of it one day,
but not all of the memories –
those times I packed away;

Long after the sad tale ended,
(as all fairy tales must do).
My ex gave Mike his duffle bag
and now he’s used it, too…