Thurman P. Woodfork

THE PERSON WHO USED TO BE

What a shame no one will ever again see
That singular person who used to be:
The one who loved, and laughed, and vied…
For while still living, he turned away, and died.

It was he who once could inspire with a word,
But that strong voice will never again be heard,
Even though he has not yet ceased to speak;
His words are now unfocused and bleak.

His potential gone to waste, but shunning pity,
He wanders alone through the streets of the city
Or languishes away in a dreary psychic cell,
Reliving the memories of his own private hell.

What happened, you wonder, to cause such a change?
What was the trauma that managed to derange
All that was wonderful in this precious life,
And fill it instead with heartache and strife?

The recurring nightmares of shadowed jungle paths,
Gravid with the imminence of sudden blood baths,
And the cry of the friend, who voiced his last sound
As, calling, he spun and fell, lifeless, to the ground.

There was no refuge; even when ‘safe’ in the rear,
He knew that he must go back into the fear,
To the rage, death, and sorrow that would not abate
Until he reached that longed-for date:

The shimmering DEROS, the day he was free,
To return to the person he could no longer be,
To battle strange ailments, disillusion, and sighs,
Until, still living, he turned away… and died.