The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Final Forgetting: The Essence of Memorial Day

One face wept

reddened and smeared with tears

tracking their way through a deep network

of wrinkled and spotted cheeks

The drops of grief cascaded

Through the corners of wrinkled lips

Burrowed down through a wrinkled chin with a fractured assortment of irregularities,

Finally trickling down an odd, deep scar that made one jowl not quite the same as the other.

And so the pattern of tears on his shirt was uneven.

 

Another face lay, composed,

Eyes closed,

Though if they had looked on that irregular scar facing him, he could have told the tale of its origin.

Indeed, his was the only face who knew the scar’s tale, save but for its owner.

But his wrinkled eyes were closed,

and no amount of coaxing,

Or cajoling,

No amount of bluster or force

Would open them now.

 

He lay there, not recognizing the scar

Nor the face upon which the scar marked the passage of violence healed,

Nor this anguish.

Nor even its owner’s presence.

There was no remorse left in him to weep away the regret for the years it had been since they’d last spoken.

These two faces set,

against each other across death’s chasm.

 

They had known each other in a different form for precisely 2 years, thirteen days, and six hours.  Young faces they had been then, at the beginning, unknowing of the dark things of life, thrown together in a strange world,

for reasons neither fully comprehended,

for a time neither could fully remember,

for a fight neither fully understood.

They arrived with a naive lust for the fight.

They left with old men’s wisdom – scarred, twisted, brutal wisdom.

They left with the understanding that a wise violence is a reluctant fight.

 

For 60 years each face looked out at the other, frozen in memory.

unbidden,

unexpected,

unforgotten,

For sixty years, each face was remembered in the dreams of the other, a comrade through the nightmares that only they knew.

 

Two old men met face to face

looking hardly at all like the last time they’d spoken.

One bandaged

One splinted,

Separated by transport and medics.

What they had said, without speaking, was “Thank you.  Remember me”.

 

And then there were only memories.

And intentions.

 

Now one stood, head bent

tears falling in the silent anguish of loss.

The other lay silently closed in death

Light extinguished.

Memory dissipated.

That spiritual realm none may see was now its home.

Too long.

Too late.

 

The living stood there, finally forgotten.

Left behind by death.

So he remembered for both of them.

And in remembering, he wept his loss.

Face reddened and smeared with tears.

 

-2017, Glenn Roesener

The Mighty Viking

 

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One Response to “Final Forgetting: The Essence of Memorial Day”

  1. Brig says:

    I have no words to thank you for this beauty… tis to weep…

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