tagNon-Erotic PoetryWhere the bullets flew

Where the bullets flew


Inspired by Deadwood's "A Bullet Not Taken"

Dear Deadwood,

"A Bullet Not Taken" didn't look like a poem before I read it, but once I was in it, hearing you speak it inside my head I knew, at once, the feeling of a poem, standing there right next to Butch and your Dad, whose name I don't know, on a bleak day in the quiet, timeless instant when I waited to know who the bullet had hit.

Then I just moved along with your words, enjoying your poem, for I too had a father who never spoke of his time in Ethiopia and the Western Desert, the invasion of Sicily and the long fight up the leg of Italy until he met my mom near the Swiss Border and brought her home as a "war-bride."

Nothing except the annual trip to town on a day in November, bedecked with medals he would stand there, his aging body rigidly erect, hand at his forehead in salute to the memory of fallen friends as the wailing bugle bounced our hearts on the sadness of the Last Post. Eventually someone would shout "Dismiss!" and we would return to the everyday world to continue saying nothing about a war that left friends on foreign fields.

Just once he broke his silence, having found reason to admonish me, aged 20 and idealistic, for romanticizing war with talk about "fighting against the Nazis" for our freedom: "It wasn't like that," he said, "We were just young and adventurous when it all started."

Now I sit here in the twilight years of a life that has been personally free of front-line war, knowing that people are dying on front-lines everywhere else of war and I wonder, sadly, when it will all end.

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