Frank J. Montoya

THE FRIEND

Many months had passed without a word,
Then the call from ‘Frisco brought them joy.
Their son had been fighting in South Vietnam;
They would finally hear from their darling boy.

After speaking with Mom, Jimmy talked to Dad,
He said: “Dad, I’ll be home in a day or two.
But I have a friend that is here with me,
I want to bring him home to stay with me and you.”

His father said: “Of course your friend can come,
He’ll have a few days rest, while he’s passing through.
Then when he’s gone, we can sit and talk.
We want to spend a lot of time, alone with you.”

“But Dad,” said Jimmy, “You don’t understand,
My friend was wounded, he was hurt real bad:
He lost an arm and a leg, he has no one else –
His sister died last year, she was all he had.

I want to bring him home, to live with us.”
But his father said: “This we just can’t do;
Our home would be changed, our lifestyle too.
We have our lives to live… and so do you.

Such a burden would be too much to bear.
Your friend will survive, as so many have before.
There are VA Hospitals and Nursing Homes;
Those places can help him, so much more.”

Jimmy said goodbye, nothing more was heard.
Then two days later, the police did call.
The message was grim: Their son was dead;
It was suicide… caused by a deadly fall.

When the grieving parents came to claim their son
They could not believe what their eyes did see.
Jimmy’s arm was missing from the elbow down,
And his leg was gone from just above the knee.

There was no “Friend” and there had never been.
Now they understood what Jim had tried to say.
The truth would haunt them every night and day:
“The Friend” was Jim, himself, who did so hope and pray,
To be accepted and to be welcomed… home… to stay.