by Mickey Clayton

Welcome home soldier,
You're just in time,
To join the recession.
They hand me a fist full of medals,
A quilt sewn by some unknown women,
A teddy bear and a paper packet,
That is my supposed guide,
To becoming a civilian again.
Assemble your skills,
Fill out an application,
This is supposed to be reintegration?
I don't know who I am anymore,
But by the gods,
I know what I am good at.
I can repair a radiator hose,
With baling wire and curses,
Under enemy fire,
Not sure that it counts,
As a recommendation.
I can ignore the stench,
Of my own friend's blood,
And lay down the fire,
Which guides us all home.
There is no neatly filled template,
That encompasses what I can do now,
There is no moment,
Where I don't reflect on my,
Oh so useless in this civilian world,
Hard won talents.
How many times have I said,
Soldiers don't make policy,
We just survive it.
There is pride in shame,
And shame in pride.
I wake in the morning,
And feel the conflict anew,
Reflecting that only those,
Who have never faced death,
Can still act jaded.
I look at my own scars,
And know that I am still alive.
What sense,
In all of this?
There are some things
too terrible to bear meaning.
I strap on the braces,
Articulated in plastic and steel,
That hold my shaky excuse of stability.
Today is the day to go out and find,
A job maybe,
Or at the very least,
A new fucking direction.

Copyright © 2010 - Mickey Clayton
Published: 4/1/10   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem