Nancy L. Meek

DESERVING OF A MEDAL

Bless the soldier who retrieves our dead,
as he plucks maggots from a bloated head.
Bless him who keeps his carcass cold,
for forcing back tears none will ever behold,
for the solemn way he grooms him for the grave,
a fellow comrade, who died for his world to save.

Bless him for performing without applause,
not to earn any medal, but simply ‘because’.
Bless him for the double shifts he will do
as more arrive, having died for me and you,
as we sit home in safety counting the dead,
their too-young remains dancing in our head.

Bless him for ensuring that the job is done right,
for his show of respect, although no one’s in sight.
Bless him for tending to the final needs of his bro,
for keeping secret those things we need not know,
as he tags each toe and gently washes away the war
for a momma somewhere, rising to answer the door.

Interesting article: Defense Link News Article: Dover’s New Mortuary Center Aims to Ease Family’s Grief