Nancy L. Meek

THE WALL – A SOUL-NUMBING AFFAIR

Reverently, they come to touch a name they know,
in spring, summer, fall or braving winter snow.

Vowing to remember, our nation’s devoted come,
hands-by-the-millions, to connect with the stone.

With a life all their own, the names touch back,
holding open the healing door a needed crack.

From Bethlehem Chapel, awash in golden light,
spill the names of our boys who died in the fight.

The first reader, a Veteran, chin all aquiver, broke down;
but finished his list on his knees… a brother duty bound.

A thousand-names-an-hour were tolled into the air
for fifty-six hours… a humbling, soul-numbing affair.

In tears, one Vet, a former medic, sat in a corner and swore,
“I should have saved more. I should have saved more.”

As lips stretched to reach the names of sons we borrowed
then chiseled in granite for our nation’s fragile tomorrow.