Christina A. Sharik

THE PHONE BOOTH

Waiting at the station,
Grandmother’s getting nervous
looking for her son to come
home from three years’ service.

Little sister wandering
(the wait is getting long)
Where is her big brother?
Can something have gone wrong?

There! He’s in a phone booth
watching as they wait….
Three years in a war zone,
and they thought he was late.

But little sister spied him
and she lets the family know;
soon, all is hugs and kisses
but his turmoil will soon show

in nightmares early on, she said,
and nervous energy,
and
cotton decorations on
a little Christmas tree.
(This is how we did it. See?)

You must get back to normal now;
all of that’s behind you.
It was the general thought back then –
Keep nothing to remind you.

But he’d sent souvenirs back home –
and carried memories inside,
He fought a soldier hand to hand;
Someone else’s father died.

And now that I am all grown up
And I’ve heard the story told
it explains so many things
and leaves me feeling old.

I want to hug my father,
but now my dad is gone.
He slumbers free of nightmares,
but his memory lives on.