every word i write
is a letting go

The tiny town I grew up in was home to a fairly large Veteran’s Hospital. We harbored these broken men, gave them nicknames and a wide berth when they passed us on the sidewalk, and, once, when I was 10 or 12, ran away in terror because one of them asked me and my best friend if we wanted to “see something,” and then proceeded to show us without waiting for an answer.

The cops were called and that’s all I know about what happened to the perpetrator.

The “patients” were a part of the fabric of our town, woven in with the rest of us, that All-American cloth worn ever-so-always proudly.

I don’t see those men very often these days, though the hospital is still there, still open, still serving those who have served. Most likely, the majority of them have since escaped the hell of their minds along with the traps of their bodies. Their stories got lost in the shuffle.

These days, we keep our wars more hidden. We take men and women to far off places and change them behind the scenes. They come home quietly if they come home at all, and we melt them back into society with a hush and some pills and a whisper.

We ask them to fit, neatly, back into a puzzle without any pieces.

We forget all the words that are simply too hard to recall.

We wear poppies and beer and barbecue sauce on an apron from yesterday’s pattern.

All this just to say: I remember.

I forget. Remember. Forget again.









8 Responses to “every word i write
is a letting go”

  • margie Says:

    Kelly you are killing me these days with your writing. not to mention the photos. you are one talented lady.

  • Marina Sofia Says:

    Well said – and softly, quietly, subtly said, without massive preaching.

  • Tina Tierson Says:

    Thank you, lovely Kelly for this. Memorial Day for me now, after the death of my beautiful son, Tim, in Desert Storm, means so much more than picnics, parties, and most of all STUPDENDOUS sales. Even though there’s not a day ever that I don’t think of Tim, this day, which was set aside to remember his loss and the loss of all those who have died in the evil of war, gives me even greater pause. I don’t know how it came to be morphed into nothing more than another day of corporate greed. Thank you for remembering. Love you.

  • Sooz Says:

    “…they took a clean-cut kid…and they made a killer out of him is what they did…” (Dylan, “Clean-Cut Kid”)

  • grapeling Says:

    Memorial’s are more than just stone ~

  • brian miller Says:

    we do keep our wars a bit more hidden…
    i have spent a bit of time on the wards…and met many a broken man, returned home…remembering this weekend for sure

  • joanna jenkins Says:

    Stunning and gentle and all so true.

  • nana Says:

    OMG, kelly this is so beautiful, I watch these lost souls wander around and my heart cries, and I can’t help but wonder why, why, why. they are someone’s son, father, uncle, or daughter, sister or niece, they were somebody to someone and now they appear to belong to no one but God and the memories they alone carry with them. We must always remember the lonely and broken,”that is our duty!”

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