Old Soldier

By John Grey

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You weren’t in a box
the army sent home from aboard.
Or those epics that Hollywood turned out.
You were simply a prime example
of knowing how to follow orders.
You were no housekeeper
but you could iron a uniform
so that no crease showed
and you sure could fold a flag.
You may not have known
where the bodies are buried
but you remember where they fell.
You bedded down in trenches.
You crossed a field
knowing full well that it was mined.
You polished your shoes while afraid.
You clung to your rifle when homesick.
In action, your thoughts were of home.
At home, your thoughts were of action.
You never complained.
Except about the rations.
You didn’t know he was just a boy.
You later learned to rationalize the fact.
You are framed in a simple black and white photo
on the dresser of a ninety year old woman
who lives in a nursing home.
You were buried with an honor guard.
You were like others
who were just like you.
Even when dead, you enjoyed their company.

John Grey