i don’t see heroism inherent in the dapple of your camo
i don’t fall at the altar of ares indiscriminately
i adhered to a pacifist belief in discourse and debate up to now
i detest the blindly patriotic vision of the star spangled devotee
a hero to me had always been an elusively romantic idea
unrecognizable in the common man as i saw them
an act of heroism an impossibly inhuman defying of natural law
until i saw you pick up your bag and put on that bulletproof diadem
out of the depths of complexity of duty to country and commander
out of obligation to provide for wife and child
and a tendency towards charity and unflinching candor
you silently took up arms and joined the rank and file
in your sacrifice you became my hero
as i know that sacrifice was rooted in love for her and i
a desire to prove yourself a provider a sanctified nero
without the vice and all the comforts to be quantified
with upright piety i have never seen in a soul
and unvoiced pain which lends itself to battered strength
you ventured alone into a combative world dividing my whole
heart carved into a token of luck of magnetism of guidance down that path
a salute to a hero by any other name
as that which he would never claim
And I whisper into the encircled totem that binds us
a tenuous thread of darkness and light unbalanced apart
“I miss you, I miss you,”but it seems superfluous.
And I seek to find faith in what I don’t understand
and ignore the selfish whispering flames of my heart
though it burns my chest like an iron brand.
And I pray to a god who does not love me
though I begged him while swollen with your child
to not steal you away as I cowered on my knees.
And I covet the touch, the graze of a hand on cheek
of people passing by me unknowingly
because I have known the thrill that is piqued.
And I cry at the space between our hands
because I can never reach far enough
to bridge the distance between lands.
This Saturday I have thought of you all day and of all the Saturdays we have been blessed to share together. I cherish the memory of those small moments of waking late, resting my head on your chest as we gather the wherewithal to escape the comfort of pillows and blankets and cuddling.
We used our Saturdays for big breakfasts sometimes. Pancakes, sometimes dotted with various fruits, waffles, eggs & bacon, or something entirely new. I liked to test new recipes on you and you always seemed more than happy to oblige.
We always seemed to be moving on Saturdays, our schedule usually full of some odd jobs or obligation. Invitations from family and friends piled up through the week. The stillness of my weekends now seems so peculiar when I think back on the flurry of those afternoons and early evening.
But the evenings were usually ours as we joked about being old people who preferred to stay in on weekends. Hearty dinners and curled up in front of the TV. Something on Netflix that didn’t always register because my eyes were so full of you.
And always, always I felt the magnetism of your body close to mine, the heat of your skin raising the blush of my own. Baby, from the very beginning you owned me in every way, my soul yearned for yours and I felt things I have never felt before. It was my awakening. I have to believe in soulmates because I have felt the connection between us so keenly and even an ocean and a continent away I feel you. The string of fate is bound securely from your heart to mine.
I love you. I don’t ever want the repetition of the phrase to diminish what I feel when I say it. I love you. I love you. The words drag through my veins and into my stomach, it is almost painful the depth of emotion those words pull from me because I mean them towards you.
My Saturdays are filled with caring for daughter at the moment, with waiting for your call, a few minutes of seeing your face pixelated on a tiny screen but it is still the most beautiful sight that fills my soul with delight. I know we will have these days again, so many more in the future. And one day I will have the luxury of reflecting on these as a distant memory of our long, beautiful life together.
A Soldier’s Wife
Little baby girl slumbering away
You’ve had your milk and a time to play
And though it’s early you’ve had a long day.
Little baby girl with lashes curled on your cheek
And lips pursed out like you long to speak
But long slow breaths mark a deep sleep.
Little baby girl with arms flung to the sides
As though you dream of a longing to fly
Or catching the power of the ocean tides.
Little baby girl let me dream with you
Of your future bright and with hope imbued
And a longing to live and share love too.
I promised a letter a day but that promise has faded away
Into days of barely making it through to crash at their ends.
My February has not felt like February, my January not like January.
The months meld into a homogenous block of TIME,
And I have become entombed in that coffinous TIME.
Buried under the Duty of an enforced patriotic life
I stand not for my country tis of thee but for the love of you and me.
Do not doubt that love sustains me despite my lamentations previously.
I just haven’t had enough coffee today to be a deployed soldier’s wife.
I am haunted by the months ahead I’ve yet to field alone but not alone.
And neither are you.
the press of your lips against mine
in kisses close to the divine.
You make me believe in Heaven.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and you never left my mind. But to be fair it is a rare day when I can manage to distract myself enough not to think about you, to remember you, to miss you, to dream of the day you come home and our life together resumes. Your words were so beautiful, more beautiful than a hundred roses. I nearly cried reading them while I sat at the circulation desk, pretending that my life was as normal as anyone else’s.
I have these moments between the drudgery of the incessant passing of time, moments of clarity where I realize that we are going through something major and life changing and neither one of us can come out on the other side the same. I know what you are doing is important and you are providing for your family the best way you have found. I can never thank you enough for being so brave, so dependable, so very, very good to me and Baby. It is unfortunately a rare man who would make such sacrifices to care for loved ones.
I believe our children will be better people for us having gone through this. We can teach them sacrifice, love in truth, what it means to cherish and appreciate what we have, to embrace moments while they are in them. I will never take for granted the small moments we share together ever again.
The days are passing. I am assured of that at least. Some faster than I thought they would. I have settled into my routine though Baby likes to switch that up from time to time. We get through, I didn’t think I could honestly, but I have found a way to care for her and myself (most days). I’m not saying the dishes get washed every evening or the tub gets scrubbed as clean as you like but we live almost as decently as before you left. There is still laughter in our home, your daughter makes sure of that. She brings me the greatest joy and I adore you for agreeing that we shouldn’t wait to start our family until you came home. She creates my inner strength and motivates me to push when I want to crash.
I tell you this because I think it is important you know we are okay even with you thousands of miles away. If something were to ever happen to you for you to know we are capable. I will care for your daughter no matter what and give her the very best life but we still desperately await your return home to complete our family.
Until then the days count down, the clock unwinds, I sigh a breath of relief because each day without you is one more day done, gone, in our past, and one day closer to the thousands upon thousands we will spend together.
I love you. Infidimensionally. Until tomorrow, my love.
A Soldier’s Wife
When I said I loved you that very first night
I said it from the depths of a heart I thought was ice cold.
I didn’t know.
When you dropped to one knee by my grandfather’s grave
and asked me if I wanted to try forever,
I didn’t know.
When I dressed in flowing white
And we recited our promises for a happy life,
I didn’t know.
When I saw that second pink line and my heart skipped a beat
And when I told you your face glowed radiantly.
I didn’t know.
When the pain wracked my body for hours on end
And you held my leg until our daughter was born,
I didn’t know.
Everyday you were with me, I didn’t know how this distance would feel.
Everyday you were with me, I was whole and new and real.
I didn’t know how much you truly meant to me until you had to leave.
And when you return to me, My Love, I will never forget.
When you return to me, My Love, I will cherish every new moment.
I didn’t know but “Thank You, Deployment,” I know now.
1 I fell in love on that first day
with how your blue eyes met mine.
2 When you grabbed my face with both hands
and kissed me and I felt our hearts intertwine.
3 When we stood on a river bank and exchanged bands
and vows of how we would love each other beyond death.
4 But I have learned that love changes
with every new day from loss, to our baby’s first breath,
5 and then seeing all the ranges
of emotions as you became a father.
6 And when you knew you had to say goodbye,
even if for a short time, caused me to falter.
7 Each day away is a sacrifice
that I would not endure for anyone else.
Because I love you.