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THE VETERAN

Page 10
Download PDF of this full issue: v49n1.pdf (28 MB)

<< 9. On Listening to Veterans11. The VA Treats Me Well >>

Thank You for Your Service (poem)

By W. D. Ehrhart

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Yes, of course; it's what you say these days.
Like genuflecting in a Catholic church.
Like saying "bless you" to a sneeze.
A superstitious reflex, but, of course,
sincere. Or is it just to ease the guilt
of sending someone else to do
the dirty work? Whatever. I just say,
"You're welcome," let it go at that,
when what I'd really like to say is,
"Thank you for my fucking service
in that fucking war I've dragged
from day to day for fifty fucking years
like a fucking corpse that won't stay dead?
That fucking nightmare that my
fucking country told me was my fucking
patriotic duty to fight? For what,
exactly, do you think you're thanking me?
Service to my country? You empty-headed
idiot. You think I want your thanks
for what I did? You shallow, superficial
twit. You've no idea what I did, or why,
or what it cost a people who had
never done us any harm nor ever
would or could. You can take your
thank you for my service, shove it
where the sun doesn't shine."
But you wouldn't understand.
You'd only get insulted if I told you
what I'd really like to say. So I just say,
"You're welcome." Smile. Walk away.

—W.D. Ehrhart


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