In the Case of Heroes
An image resides in the mind
taken from some newspaper articles
about the last, good war
and has nothing to do with the girl
he left behind, who does not
wish to see him now,
because, really, his legs are gone
and she is a ballroom dancer.
Oh, the girl is happy that he’s still alive,
that she won’t have to console
his usually distraught mother
or wear basic black and stand through
all that flag-draping in the fields at Arlington.
But this is the disposable century
and the saturation point of how much stress
a body can endure without falling
completely apart is near.
Anyhow, she knows it won’t be long—
his time on earth—as she has visited
the wall, read each of the fifty-eight-thousand
names and sidestepped the flowers
and teddy bears, and read articles
about the estimated one hundred & fifty thousand veterans
who, over the years since that war’s end,
committed suicide. She doesn’t
want to be one of those widows,
fighting for the recognition of her husband’s pain
or dealing regularly with the red tape
of V. A. hospitals, or the post traumatic
stress disorder episodes
that invite incoming mortar rounds
into their living room.