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Page 22
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Veteran (poem)

By James A. Moad II

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Born of war and the lie of lies, buried and uniformed into silence,
signed away lives in pursuit of Service
commanding you to hold onto some flag or book
that clings to Patriotism as if it's a guiding star
leading us to a future of promises and certainty
until coming home breaks itself upon you in a wave you can't see—
an invisible bomb blast, and there's the Duty to be back,
to be right, to be a person who can forget,
while the day drives a memory back into light,
into a war that won't let you go—
won't allow you to escape the world of Honor you're supposed to hold high
like a Flag hoisted on the moon, showing you what we once could do,
but you can never Reconcile the day with the night—
the ghosts in the mind—the holes in the thoughts,
until they tell you it's PTSD, and you listen and you hear
and you see it in the eyes of the mirror,
everything lettered into a name for what only
you and those like you can know,
men and women searching for a healing world and voice—
a gentle guide into every night's desperate end
where you find yourself over and over again
staring into darkness and pain, secrets and boxed up tears
waiting for the everything in the world to die.

—James A. Moad II

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