Army Mom’s Safe Haven

WHO ARE "YOU"?

Someone said I shouldn't write poems for "you"
He said, "Who are 'you' to write about us -
you don't know 'us'
you cannot understand."
No, I wasn't there first hand
and I can't really know what you
went through -
But I did know some of you.
You were David - my friend's boyfriend -
we were 16 and you were 18 - and when
you left, you gave me a letter
for me to give to her, "in case" -
I hid the letter in my jewelry box,
and lived in fear for one whole year -
So for me it all began
when David left for Viet Nam.

Oh, I remember "you" -
You were the black guy on the
bus in Philadelphia - in uniform -
staring out the window.
I spoke to you - and you said you
were leaving for Vietnam - again.
I wished you well -
You smiled at me and winked.
I wrote a poem for you
but you never knew.

You were my husband
and you left a wife and child behind
when you came back, you weren't you -
you were the one I never really knew.

You were my high school boyfriend
until I moved away.
Years later, divorced,
I thought of you one day.
I called and got your mom.
But before she put you on the phone,
She said you'd been wounded in Vietnam.
You couldn't seem to remember me
but I remember you.

And you were my friend's baby brother.
He and I were catching up on old times
a couple of years ago -
and he said "my little brother's dead, Chris -
Sid's dead - did you know?
He'd been a medic - two tours in 'Nam
But he was killed at home.
and it just about killed my mom."

You're the POW I wore a silver bracelet for -
I watched you get off a plane; you came home,
you came back from war .

You're the nurses and the donut dollies
I have met since the war -
ALL the women who served,
both at home and afar -

You were my father, husband, pen pal,
my brother, my sister, my friend -
You are my son, and every young one
Serving today, at home and away
I carry you with me now, as I did then -
With pride and awe,
respect and sadness;
with heartfelt admiration,
and sometimes silent tears.
I will remember "you" always,
for all of my years.

©Copyright 1996 by Christina
(Revised January 2001 and November 2002)

Descendant of Revolutionary War Veteran, Civil War Veteran (CSA); Granddaughter WWI veteran, Daughter (and niece) of WWII Veterans, Formerly DIL of WWII WAVE; Ex-wife of Vietnam Veteran, Aunt of Marine LCPL Dustin Haskell;and Proud Mother of Army Staff Sgt. Michael T. Ream, presently serving. WELCOME HOME!!!

Christina: Who Are 'You"? (IWVPA Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of Excellence - Janaury 2003)