Christina A. Sharik

NOT UNTIL…

Christina A. Sharik: Not Until…Both of them
walked up the steps

with soldierly bearing,
with personal dread

needing to tell her
that he was dead.

It occurred to me then
when watching these men,

that no one is dead until
someone is told.

To them has fallen
this terrible task.
This deliverance of news…
Ma’am, is there anything
you’d like to ask?

They know she’s not listening
They know she is stunned;
her heart has stopped beating,
her reality out-gunned.

They’re the bearers of horrors,
and destroyers of soul…
and their own grief stays with them
until they are old.