Posted in [poetry]

a salute ; [poem]

it started with a message
an old classmate hospitalized
and a request for cards and kind words
I remembered him
from middle school me in Kentucky
half a lifetime ago
they said he tried to kill himself
said he was in a coma three weeks and counting
said it wasn’t looking good
I offered to write him
one almost stranger to another
if my words could help build up the pile of kindling
until it became enough fuel to rekindle his fire
the will to live again
his mother asked who I was
why I wanted to be in the know
I understood her caution
the way tragedy attracts those
who like to watch drama unfold
to poke at fresh wounds until they bleed again
I don’t blame her
questioning my desire to write her son a letter
how do I tell her
that he is not my friend
that we have not been friends for years
that we are soldiers in the same fight
struggling against depression and its suicidal end game
how do I tell her that those fighting hardest
live closest to the battlefield
that they wear wounds more often
as the enemy strikes back
there is no weakness in his fall
only a lost battle in a long war
I want him to know that his fight isn’t over
that there will be other battles
but he will never stand alone on the front lines
because I’ve been there
in the place where the desire to live
is dampened
by the desire to not have to fight anything anymore
I may not be a friend
but we are veterans of the same war
still fighting to survive
and so I want to write him a letter
as a salute to his bravery


bookdragon, poet, witch

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