Randy E. Richmond

I DON’T COME CHEAP

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: May 30, 2003
Awarded: May 30, 2003
I am the lump in the throat of the grandfather who listens as the bugle’s haunting, familiar melody sounds Taps at his namesake’s graveside

I’m the tears of anguish that flow so freely and fall from a mother’s cheek as she accepts the folded flag which covered her fallen son’s casket

I am the unborn child of a father who laid down his life for his friends these many years past

I’m the knot in the stomach of the young wife who watches as somber faced chaplain approaches her door

The flowers and tiny flags placed with loving, trembling hands by a granite stone

I am a soldier who survived and came home with both dog-tags yet I live under a bridge with only a bottle of cheap whiskey to warm me and to send me blessed sleep

And I’m that soldier’s buddy who stepped on the mine just seconds after the other had passed safely over it

My bones rest under battlefields, cemeteries, oceans, beaches, and jungles and are your receipts marked paid

I’m the cold sweat and midnight scream of the nurse who just tried and again failed to ‘save’ this one, I’m the missing limbs, I’m the thousand yard stare in the eyes of your neighbor

I am… the cost of freedom!

The price… of fleeting peace!

The payments made to liberty!

Am I worth it……? God help us…… yes

And may we never ever forget to thank you or appreciate what you’ve given to us!

Author’s Note: Thinking About Memorial Day… and recent memories of parades that attracted little enthusiasm or turnout