Monday, February 9, 2009


With these, while in his infant crib
he reached up to feel the air, play with the breath of God.
With these, he
pushed toy trucks through backyard grass,
shoveled Cheerios in his mouth,
swung his bat and caressed his dog while sleeping.
With these, he fumbled with his microscope
and slides in science class,
played ball on high school courts and fields,
punched his best friend's shoulder and
held hands with a teenaged angel.
With these, he typed and clicked the college nights away
while glued with coffee to books and notes,
drove his car to work and class and work and class
and work and class and still found the odd weekend to
repair and paint the home of some whose
wrinkling, failing bodies robbed them of this chore.
With these, folded, he sometimes simply sat,
stilled them to allow some thinking,
rested them for their own good,
clasped them in contented resignation to
the One who planned his path.
With these, he also trained himself
to address an unknown enemy
whose misguided heart is bent,
starved for sacrificial deaths
and thus ironically, these days,
he carries weapon to stop war's blinding bleed.
With these, today he gripped the wheel of his Humvee
as he rushed comrads and first aid
to another market bombing,
then stepped out directly on an IED.
As dirt and metal fragments settled,
choruses of screams and shouts erupted,
I charged the smoke and flame to pull him out of there;
with rescue spelled in ticking seconds,
whitened by the falling dust, I froze,
and as a ghostly statue,
stared across a charred and steaming earth where
in the sand, the only thing God left us with
were the still, warm and open palms
of Tommy's hands.

Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Brown

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