Monica L. Murphy


He called her on a Saturday in the early afternoon;
She almost didn’t recognize the voice saying, “Mom, is that you?”

Just a few short months ago her son had gone to war;
She’d only received one short note and then, nothing more.

Her tears started flowing as he described the joy;
Of the opening of school that day for Iraqi girls and boys.

For all she wanted was her own son to come home safe and sound;
But he believes in what he’s doing; so he has to stay around.

His brother took the phone and asked about the war;
Like any boy his age, he wanted to know more.

“Have you shot anyone-has anyone shot at you?”
Then he got quiet as his brother’s words came through.

“War just isn’t cool, Kid, but sometimes it has to be;
No, I haven’t killed anyone; yes, they’ve shot at me.”

She takes the phone from her younger son and listens to her oldest child;
He’s grown into a fine young man; she can hear it across the miles.

She starts to cry again… someone has tried to hurt her son;
“Mom, they’re not a very good shot; I promise I’ll come home.”

She knew there was a war; she knew the danger he was in;
But as she listened to his words, it drove it home again.

Each day she prays, “God, keep him safe for he made a promise to me;
That he would be home very soon… so watch over him for me.”

Author’s Note: This poem was inspired by the first phone call I received from my son, Joshua from Iraq. It happened to be the first day children in Iraq could return to school, and his pleasure was evident as he described the kids’ excitement as the soldiers escorted them to school.