Ruby Alexandra Beloz

THE WALK

Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of ExcellenceSo many years have gone by
The time has come to find my peace
I make this pilgrimage to DC
In search of some serenity

What reflections shall await me?
Some who have made this walk
Talk of ghosts they have seen
Hidden deep within the Granite Wall

Some say the walk has set them free
Of years of silence, loneliness and guilt
Will this walk release me from the bondage
That has imprisoned me?

Thirty plus years of non-stop nightmares
Of hellish things I’ve seen
Now your name is craved in granite black
The last time I saw you, we were fighting side by side

You were blown away
By a child’s grenade
You never made it back
Today I bring a piece of paper and pencil in my hand
I walk along the sidewalk

Noticing left-behind teddy bears
Flowers, ribbons, medals
Scraps of papers, candles and prayers
I try desperately to hold back my tears

The silence in my heart
Has been awakened by your presence
I walk further on ahead
I feel your spirit it is very near

My dear Brother
It has been so many years
Since that fire fight
You died in my arms
At the hands of a child’s grenade

I walk slowly, searching for your name
When I stopped and realize
There were thousands of names on this Wall
Brave Soldiers who gave all

The feeling I have inside me – I can’t explain
My body begins to shake my nerves I cannot tame
I finally stop and see the writing on the Wall.
It reads “Thomas John.”

I have found you Tommy
As I look at your name carved in black,
For just one moment I thought I saw your face
It was a soft gentle glow

You seem happy and have inner peace
You look exactly the same
I put my hand over your name
And looked into the Wall.
When I saw that the reflection was me

I heard your voice telling me to let you go
So I take out my patch from the 101st Airborne
And I leave it by the Wall
With a picture of us graduating Jump School

I don’t know if I will ever be able to let you go
So here I am standing
At attention to salute
A Brother and my friend

The last reflection I see in the Wall
Is of you and me
You stand there with a smile, waving goodbye
I wave back at you for one last time

I leave, no longer my own prisoner
Late at night, you’ll see their spirits
Coming alive; walking and laughing
Having a good time

I have made the Walk to Freedom
And I made it back!
I leave the Wall knowing
You have given me a gift
The gift of Brothers