Nancy L. Meek

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: August 6, 2009
Awarded: August 6, 2009

Again, at the weary end of life,
he bids farewell to child and wife,
knowing he will leave a bloody mess
for those who will come and try to guess
the time of death and why, oh why
he did it, knowing they would cry.

He sits and argues quite awhile
with himself, losing his smile,
as gun to head, he ponders death,
the thought of taking no more breath,
of breaking free from endless dreams
of bleeding bros; a toddler’s screams.

Then suddenly, just off to his right,
he hears something moving in the night
as moonlight streams into the room
heightening his sense of doom;
as, reflexively, he switches the gun
from himself to, suddenly… his son.

Padding softly in Spiderman pajamas,
unaware of post-war mental traumas,
the toddler spans the kitchen floor,
like the many nights he’s done before
when monsters, living beneath his bed,
crawl out to reek havoc inside his head.

The solution has always been the same,
to scream and call his hero by name,
“Daddy! Daddy! They’re gonna get me!
One’s got a gun and wants to shoot me!”
But when Daddy doesn’t come right away,
he knows he must help him save the day.

So, he slips from bed and into the night,
down the hallway and towards the light,
where he knows he’ll find his hero there,
sitting in the kitchen in his favorite chair,
holding… something… against his head.
Then, all of a sudden, the monsters are dead.