Nancy L. Meek

HARDEST JOB

Bradley Beard and Mom, Elisabeth
Bradley “Brad” Beard with mom, Betsy following Advanced Infantry Training. Photo courtesy of the Beard family

“The Secretary of the Army has asked me to express his deepest regret that your son, Specialist Bradley Beard, was killed in action in Ar Ramadi, Iraq on October 14, 2004.”

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: February 17, 2007
Awarded: February 17, 2007
She labored hard to give him birth,
wrapped her arms around his girth,
kissed his toes and tiny head,
smiled at him, asleep in bed.

She fed him well, hugged him tight,
taught him manners, wrong from right,
kissed his boo boo’s, washed his face,
cheered him on at every race.

She combed his hair, tied his shoes,
taught him how to count by two’s,
made-do without, to give him more,
braved the day he went to war.

She hugged him hard before he went,
wrote to him without relent,
kissed his photo by her bed,
clung to news about the dead.

She gave her all, a mother’s job,
left his soul in the hands of God,
buried him… the hardest part,
pressed his flag against her heart.

She fought back tears, her chin aquiver,
thought she saw him on a river,
reached for him as the vision died,
then bowed her head and softly cried.