I Remember You

Names carved in granite,

Neatly, in rows,

Ordered by date of death.

“I remember you,” I mutter, as my fingers read a section.

For a short moment my mind races back to body bags, opened in search of dog tags listing religious preference. A bullet hole in the spine, just below the skull. Searching through a journal for a name, when other ID was missing. Deep screams filling the tent as death came painfully. The sound of my own voice singing hymns to a Baptist as he silently moved closer to heaven, his brain death preceding his last breath by hours. A Buddhist? Did I say the right prayer? God, I hope so.

Enough.                                            Enough.

“I remember,” I say again, my voice hoarse from cheering for the team.

Across the parking lot athletes are leaving the gym,

Two hours of seated volleyball and wheel chair basketball only invigorating them.

They move quickly on prosthetic legs worn proudly with shorts.

A few, with scars on their heads, search for the bus.

These warriors wear their memorials, tattooed on existing limbs, telling the story of how they came to be wounded, who they lost and why it matters.

My tattoos are in stone.

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