for Memorial Day – seventh in a series of Toritto’s war poetry
When your son was killed that Summer night
you were filling up the car;
you didn’t know ‘till you saw my face
what I already knew.
While you slept your husband died
on a hill outside Dak To;
you had no idea when you awoke
but I already knew.
It was I who was the messenger
in blue adorned with gold
who brought the message of his death
my duty that his truth be told.
It was I who ordered that his friend
escort his body home
completed all the paper work
no wish of yours too small.
Each day the names came in to me
the casualties of war
for each there was a messenger
to knock upon a door.
No one ever shot at me
that Summer long ago
‘cause someone else went in my place
while I stayed safe at home
The Army in it’s wisdom
chose me to bring the dread
my unit left without me
left behind to serve the dead
but when I saw your name my friend
I pray that you did know
I’d have gladly died beside you
not to have to tell your mom.