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The Soldier

February 12, 2011

There is a man who stands outside my local grocery store, with hands cracked and grayer than his eyes —
I don’t recognize, they don’t even look like eyes.
They’re like balls of ash floating in a pool of urine.
There’s no life there, there’s no love there,
There’s only his words that he tosses across the street to anyone who’ll stop and speak to him —
And that’s nobody.
His words are lost.
“Spare change please, God bless your soul,”
And I stop and think, “Who’s going to bless his soul?”
Four years ago this man was shipped overseas with new boots, a helmet and a gun and how could he foresee that his destiny was to save lives and lose his own in the process?
His is a story of deception, not success.

What kind of country can allow a man who risked his life for the ideals of this nation to stand outside my local grocery store, in the same shirt he wore four years ago when he accepted the call of duty and asked for nothing in return?
What kind of country could allow this man to receive nothing but emptiness in his upturned hands?
This may be the land of the free, but there’s no home for the brave, if the brave don’t prearrange to have spare change in their savings accounts.
I see him everyday, nothing has changed.

And while I’m angry at America for letting him live this way, I know I, too, share that blame.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kirk permalink
    February 12, 2011 10:23 am

    Why are you so good at imagery?

  2. February 12, 2011 10:24 am

    Why are you so good at imagery?

  3. Gus permalink
    February 12, 2011 1:51 pm

    what about this man? can he be helped?

  4. February 12, 2011 1:53 pm

    I’ve seen so many like him. It’s overwhelming when you stop to think about it. Which is why so many won’t stop to think about it. Glad you did.

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