Landing Craft: A Poem

The day was late…so late

I was weary, but not as weary as he was;

After all this was his last day and one has the right to be weary,

When they are in a prize fight;

When they are going to another shore.

The day got later—but slowly, as if to say “you’ll thank me in time”,

But I wasn’t thankful—

I was selfish…

I wanted him to stay on my shore not go to the other;

I wanted him to get up and be Dad again like he was supposed to be,

But he laid there and struggled against his own body

…to breathe.

The day turned into night….his last and final one.

I laid in the bed in the same room and listened to how papery-thin;

Like the crackle of old newspaper

caught in a fence in an Autumn breeze

 his breathing had become;

And wished he would just stop and travel on

….not to be selfish….

But for him to have the mercy and peace

he had gnarled his fingers so hard for

All of his days…

He came around just for a time and looked at me;

Barely able to whisper my name he called to me—

I told him I was there;

He asked “Am I going to die?”,

And I said “It’s not up to me Daddy….It’s not my call”,

And, for the first time in my life as a man and boy,

A look of terror, true terror, came over his face…

And he cried.

This man who had fought in war,

Who had fought with me as an ignorant child,

Who had fought so hard to raise me and give not only his love

But his knowledge of honesty, honor and hard work

Was afraid….

And I could do nothing to quiet that fear—

Except hold onto him.

The day was over. It was done.

The darkest of nights began in my soul

and it will never light truly again.

His fight to breathe lost, he loaded the Landing Craft

And began his journey to another shore….

To journey there

And smile to me in dreams.

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