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memorial-dayI go to the park early this Memorial morn
and hear words hanging from the trees
and glimpse them hiding under the bushes
and see them laying in the sun.
What questions do they bring?


The man with the white legs and swinging cane
strides forward along the path that leads to the pond
where he passes an old man with a fishing pole
holding the hand of a young boy skipping.
When did last I whistle?

Four ducks pecking, heads swaying,
wander into the field ready to stab and nibble.
Rudderless they saunter in the warm morning sun,
feathers wet and glistening, carefree and complete.
When did last I travel without a destination?

The trees sing with birds;
ducks and geese punctuate the choir.
The woodpecker’s staccato beat calls forth dance
while the bell at St. Philomene calls forth prayer.
When did I last sing?

Black crow perches on the rim of the trash barrel
and caws as his beady eye appraises the pickings.
Squirrels grab seeds and dash up trees
and along branches, chattering as they fly.
What do I fill my mouth with?

A light wind blows warmth away;
trees shiver and shake their leaves in response.
Words whirl around in little dust bowls.
I gathered them up in handfuls and stuff them into my pocket.
What stories do I hold?

I bring them home to simmer and stew
while I reflect on Memorial Day;
on the Protectors who in saving others, risk their life
and on the Warriors who in taking lives, risk their soul.
What am I willing to die for?