My Pacemaker (poetry pantry 51)

Evening horizon appears bruised.
Sunlight slithers off, silently.
Darkness creeps, cougar-like,
Crisp shadows chill skin.
And then,
Eyes erupt, silence shatters, tear’s heave.
Sheet of paper, official, type written,
Trembles in hand,
Rattling, snake-like, after a strike,
Fangs moist, blood stained.
Frightful words, venomous,
Surge though veins,
Numb arms, throat,
Breath paralyzed,
Death stalks heart.
Collapsed to dust,
Curl in ball,
Frail, tumbleweed-like,
Wind rushes by.
Pray to roll away, roll away
Swoosh along prairie flat
To wherever tumbleweeds go.
But I lay like a stone;
A headstone,
Marking the end of my life.
My Johnny
Won’t be marching
Home again.
And then,
A little heart renewed life.
I imagined it no bigger than Johnny’s,
When his mother,
Probably dancing with him now,
First told me he was coming.
Being a father was a good thing,
Back then.
The medal dangled from a ribbon,
Wide purple with thin white stripes,
Heart shaped, bordered with Heaven’s gold.
On the front,
George Washington’s profile in a sea of purple,
On the back,
“For Military Merit.”
It felt cool in my fist.
I clenched it,
Trying to find life,
A reason,
A power.
A hope.
The beginning of a prayer.
And then,
I squeezed the medal so hard
My palm bled.
I looked.
I gasped.
I gazed.
I knew.
I sensed a breeze, warm.
A voice, I didn’t notice on the prairie.
With each wisp of wind, I heard,
“I Know,”
Reminding me, “I know.”
Every time the wind blew, a whisper,
“I know.”
I saw, I listened, I survived.
Johnny’s body stopped a bullet streaking for an Afghan girl;
A county’s future.
I wear the Purple Heart with pride,
Pinned over my own;
My pacemaker.
And now,
I leave the prairies to the tumbleweeds.
I spend a lot of time in the mountains,
Me and wind,
Standing on a great granite rock,
Taking turns
“I know.”

8 thoughts on “My Pacemaker (poetry pantry 51)

  1. A heavy one to feel!!! Each line was striking me with a flawless feel!! The ending fell in place to the theme..I Bow to the one who faces any battle in life with vigor and reason!! Gr8 one..

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