From the Fiery Embers

Dedicated to the men and women of the United States Military
Veterans Day, 2002
By Art Myrick

Flames rip viciously at fresh fuel
Consuming gradually, gracefully, gasps of time.
There within the boiling coals
Lie the moments of my life.

I am an American fighting man…

Sonia readies our children for church
Todd discovers wondrous sights in a cereal bowl
Sherry twirls the bows of her pigtails
Rags the pup discovers his own tail
at a circle’s end on the patio
Twiggy the Oscar swirls her world
in anticipation of a goldfish breakfast
“Late, late for an important date!”
screeches Max the Macaw.

I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life...

The dampness of this cavern
Celebrates the glow of the flame
Strange shapes cascade the walls
Dancing a bizarre cadence
To the dead quiet of the night
My men rest and I think
In this foreign cold warmth.

…dedicated to the principles which made my country free…

Meals-Ready-to-Eat they claim
Sonia’s rock to a real food tune
To correct my kids at the dinner table
Would delight my core
Even as mashed potatoes hit the floor.

I am prepared to give my life in their defense…

Fallen leaves decay
Fallen as my fellow soldiers
I should be home raking
Instead I lift friends
The bags of similar color
But much heavier here.

I will trust in my God…

I love the rhythm of home…
A carpet to be cleaned
The broken belt of a sewing machine
Oil that needs change
Unruly weeds to be tamed
Bedtime stories that must be read
Love words that should be said
…I miss it.

…and in the United States of America.

The loneliness of this time
The aching sorrow of my soul
Do not at all equal
The losses of my people.
But I must quiet those
Who threaten mine.
For I am the eye of the eagle
The clenched fist of my nation
The deliverer of its justice
The bearer, or withholder, of its mercy.

I will never forget that I am an American fighting man.

The ash of the fire reminds
My quest - to 
avenge the tons that fell
On a fall day in September.