Medal of Honor

In every dogwood blossom his face
smiles too perfectly.
He never yelled about
my forgotten homework; never
buried my first dog by the fence
in our backyard; never
went eyeball-to-eyeball
with a used car salesman
to get my first car.
He’s a photograph now,
an old one in gray scale.
Only I remember
how the dogwood bloomed
the last time he leaned from the train
to wave goodbye.


~Note: Written to honor Technician Fifth Grade F. Peden who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on February 13, 1946. All events but the dogwood and the train are fictional.

Archaeology

Drowned cities
spanning the globe
from John Franklin to Roald Amundsen,
all claim to be Atlantis.
Each one shows off their stone arch. Each one
bears a painted image of warriors still in battle,
or women collecting jugs of water despite
being in the deepest fathoms of it.
Each one declares authenticity, holds up their ruins
and begs to be remembered, as
all of us ask to be remember,
to be loved for eternity:
I was here. I was here.
Please
never forget me.

© 2021 Vera S. Scott


“. . . there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.” – Plato

Mothers of Heroes

What mother wants
her son as a monument,
the rider of a stallion with
both front legs raised,
displaying a plague
that no one reads anymore?

What mother wants
her daughter as a tweetstorm,

thousands of brisk words
and sentences that beg,
plea, and demand
a freedom that never arrives?

What mother wants
her child resting unmarked,
buried with all the other nameless
in unhallowed ground that eventually
gets used as a parking lot?

What mother wants
to carry that much sadness
and claim that it’s pride, say that honor
can supersede the memory
of baby-fine hair, tiny snores,
and all of those silly giggles?

None of them.
It is simply what we do.

LIKE YELLING AT MIRRORS

 

How many ways are there to say,
to be gauche.
Today I will probably hit them all. Today,
all these years later, I am once again
angry with you.
Oh, I know, and you know,
that doesn’t change the love
or the grief,
that if anything it adds to
the personal guilt. But we need you.
Here.
Now.
But you’re still gone.
As completely and as foolishly as ever,
and it is just as when being without you was new and difficult to navigate,
a struggle to walk beyond.
See, I am still stumbling and tripping.
And you aren’t there to help catch…
any of us.