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Tears of a Soldier

A mother stops for a moment
At her mailbox
The flag is down
The mailman has come
And gone
It's been three months
Since her last letter from her son
The son that is now so far away
She whispers a prayer
As she reaches for the door of the box
And slowly reaches inside
“Nothing but bills”
She says out loud to herself
With a tone of relief in her voice
She quietly takes the hand full of envelopes
Into the house
Sits at the table and starts to open them
Still it has been three months
She sets aside the envelope in her hand
Bows her head
And whispers her prayer
“Please God
Keep him safe
Just one more day”
She reaches for box of tissue
The one she keeps on the table
Just for this purpose
And gently wipes away her tears
Tears she cries for her son
The soldier

The telephone rings
It's nine PM
She rushes to try and catch it
Before the next ring
The baby has just fallen asleep
She pauses though
As she reaches for the receiver
It's been three months
Three long months since she has heard from her husband
With hesitation in her voice she answers
“Hello”
She breaths a sigh of relief
It's his mother again
No mail today
They talk for nearly an hour
Try and convince each other
Everything will be “just fine”
She hangs up the phone and collapses on the sofa
Drowns the cushion once again with her tears
Tears she cries for her husband
Her husband that is ‘working” so far away
Her husband the soldier

He crouches alone in an alley
“Safe” for the moment
From the hell that has constantly engulfed his world
It's been three months
He tells himself
They are probably worried sick
He pulls out his notepad and pen
And with the light of a broken streetlamp
He takes time to scribble just a few words
“Everything here is fine.
Miss yall more and more each day.
Take care of Nathan and most of all
Take care of each other.”
He shoves the letter in a battered envelope
One of several
He keeps folded in his jacket
He plans to drop off
Whenever he gets the chance
If ever he gets the chance
He carefully stores his pen and paper
And once again gets back to work
Working at a job
He knows could at any moment end his life
Still someone has to be there
And he has seen what could happen
If no one was
As he slips back on his helmet
He wipes away the tears with his sleeve
Tears he tries so hard to disguise
For some might see them as a sign of weakness
Tears he cries
Far more often than he would like to admit
The tears of a soldier

Ed Roberts 11/08/06


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Tears of a Soldier