Karin Gustafson, hosting the latest prompt over at dVerse, offers us the chance to write about war, peace, and like topics. I just pulled an all-night shift, so I can’t tell how jumbled up this is, but I’m sending it along anyway. 

As the dew falls, easing down
on the new-mown meadow
like a gentle morning kiss,
she wanders over the wet
grass and weeps. Her son is
not coming home. His body, toughened
by boot camp and sent to the desert,
is blown into red fragments by
some other mother’s boy,
unrecoverable, like a
memory erased.
The government men who
brought her the news told her she
should be proud, but on this morning,
crossing the pathless field
where her boy played away
his childhood, she cannot
escape her loss. Her mind travels
across miles, thinking of
all he must have suffered—
and she wonders just now if
across some scorched dune another
mother wanders and weeps
her loss. She knows she
should return to the house;
her work awaits. The dew lifts,
and she walks on
without leaving a trace.

16 thoughts on “Unrecoverable

  1. ugh wow…nice depth of feeling…felt piece…not only the children out there dying…but realizing it is to another moms child who is just as proud but just as scared for the life of their child…the close, without leaving a trace is open enough as well to feel for the mom but also the child…i would hope a trace left and their death not be in vain…


  2. Yes – ugh – so sad. The beginning and end especially strong. I am reminded of that incredibly wonderful book “All Quiet on the Western Front,” where after a terrible death, the day is described by the press as all quiet on the western front. Death too commonplace. Thanks for participating. k.


  3. You really brought this home with emotional potency. The connecting points of place, the difficulty reconciling her loss with a sense of pride, and the final stanza which strikes me intensely (that she no longer leaves a legacy and her work of grief has just begun) are amazing.


  4. A very sensitive portrayal of the sad consequences and futility of war.
    Not jumbled at all Nic..very good poem.
    You have a very interesting reading list. Hang on to your library. I went to my local library yesterday and I was shocked to find my personal library is so much better. Many books now are out of print and very difficult to obtain. Who could live without books? If one is short on space you can always use them as furniture:)


  5. Thank you, Brian. War has far-reaching effects–generational, and beyond I think. I find it strange and incredibly simple-minded to calculate casualties on a body to body ratio. We can never fully estimate the losses.


  6. Thanks Claudia–it's uncomfortable to consider, but war “casualties” are always personal to somebody. I think of that every time they show a photograph of the latest dead soldier on the news.


  7. Thanks Cress. For the past 7 months or so my weekends have been largely spent working, or in a fog from lack of sleep. Even if things aren't jumbled, it still seems jumbled to me!

    I made the mistake some years ago of getting rid of 20 big boxes of books. I'll never forgive myself, nor should I.


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