Monday, May 2, 2011

Living Remains

The young men above never knew their Grandpa. His own kids barely knew him, if at all. He died young. His two kids were very, very young. But something of him lives in his grandsons, both of them serving in the United States Air Force. I've met all the survivors in this family. I wish I'd met the one who left us at age 24.

Osama bin Laden has been taken out. Someone's sons had to do it. America wants to hug these highly trained, secretive young men who did this work for us. Mostly, because of their work, they will have to remain anonymous to us. They could not do what they do as celebrity idols.

But they will carry something of this work with them for life. It may never be something they are able to discuss with family and loved ones. We owe them a lifetime of gratitude. But we also owe them our prayers for health, healing and wholeness.

They have taken life to avenge its loss. They have taken life to save life. They have done so at our call. They have done our work. Living remains to be done. For them. For us, too,

Living Remains

"Grandpa, were you in the war??
question rarely asked by sons and daughters
of their Dads.
Mamas often warned them not to
Mostly, they just somehow knew.
Sons and daughters may not ask
unlike the way that grandkids do…

He who talks of it openly most days
has likely never seen it
never carried sounds of rounds,
sweaty smell of fear,
bloody mud beneath his fingernails, or else
He has a mission to see that others never do
Mission to unpack the things old warriors carry still
In Grandpa bellies, feelings in the gut that never feel
more than the age of twenty
inside a body graying now on every edge.

"Grandpa, were you. . ."
If I say “yes”, what will you do?
If I concede these keys to me, where will you drive me to?
What will we do when we arrive there, will we ever?
And will we ever leave?

In places overgrown with trees and vines,
grasses taller than a man
where annual floods bring fields of rice to bloom
They are finding them in bits
and pieces, remains of stories never told
Lives that filled their quotas long ago

I may have let the jungle grow awhile
Because there are human remains in earth
and me
remains in heart and mind and memory
Remains of war live on forever, so they are forever
living remains
And in these things, all things
Living remains for us to do.

"Grandpa, Grandma, were you in the war?
Was war inside of you?"
You tell me so. You tell me true.
While living remains for you.

--Roger Fuchs

© 2010 by Roger D. Fuchs, Portland, OR 97230-6151. All Rights reserved. 018011

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