Friday, August 24, 2012

Poems From His Deployment: Part Seven

Memorial Day
Each Memorial Day
A national cemetery in California
Spends days reading the names
of all those who lay to rest there
Day and night, they read
in 15 minute increments
the names 
of bothers and husbands
sons and nephews 
They never pause 
They never take a moment
to comtemplate the history
of those names.
Some read to remember
Some read because they themselves
could not serve
Some read to honor those
who have been forgotten.
Each name has a rank, 
a family,  a friend.
Each name has a story.
Dog tags dangle from the hip
of one of the readers.
He is there
to take the shifts
that no one wants
Evenings, nights, weekends, 
he reads.
And he knows the story 
behind every dog tag
Recounting them
Like old friends
he has grown so familiar with.
They do this night and day
until the last name is read
some time on Memorial Day
They do this to honor the fallen.
They do this so that we will remember 
those who served
So that we didn’t have to.

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