Friday, January 24, 2014


He looked at her and knew
she didn’t know the new person
he had become.
She couldn’t recognize the man
who returned from war
as the one she loved so deeply
before he left her all alone.
Their son would no longer play with him
or go fly fishing with him on the stream
they both had loved so much.
She wondered what had changed him
so much that she or their son
only saw a stranger now.
He could have told them,
but they didn’t really ask
because they assumed
he didn’t want to talk about it.
He would have told them
it wasn’t the reality of war
that tore apart his inner self.
It was not seeing blood or death
or buddies killed and wounded.
He would have told them it was
facing the evil he saw in himself.
Until he tells someone how he feels
he will never know it was not
the evil in him he saw, but rather
the evil in the acts he was forced
by circumstances to commit.
Who came home?
A soldier full of guilt
unable to tell others why
left to cry alone out of sight.

© Ed Cooper, January 23, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee

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