While Away

What I knew, at least what you told me

while glancing your eyes across the horizon,

a small plane ascending over the hill,

and you’d duck your head

while driving the mail to the post office.

We had our ritual Sunday nights,

nothing unusual, just a drive to drop off your


The part that I loved though was when you would

countless times,

tell me about Saipan … that peaceful story.

I was only a kid then, so I didn’t know about war.

I hadn’t understood the many nights your cold body

withstood the temperatures

while you and your buddies protected our soil.

I hadn’t known anything about war

because you shared stories of peace,

and laughter,

and camaraderie in a deep forest,

never knowing when you might face

a world no one understood, not even your own.

But now today as we traveled down a country road,

and a small twin engine slid across the sky,

I watched your head duck with eyes looking askance,

I knew then what I’ve only begun to know now.

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