(to my great grandfather)
What were you thinking those eighty to ninety years ago
As you took the one-way train to a farther plain?
No cheap day return.
The young girl? Fatherless, growing up in the shadow of a shadow:
An empty kitchen chair, a half-cold double-bed.
“You don’t have a father, you’ve got memories instead.”
Were you thinking of the brothers in arms?
Meticulously murdered by equally sad young men
With pasts, habits, families and futures of their own.
Each bullet shattering the darkening embers of your mind:
That was the real harm.
Maybe you wondered about me?
About everything you wouldn’t ever see or feel or know.
You took you away before life was at it’s height.
“My great grand-dad survived the war”
Well ... not quite.
What were you thinking as you lay on the railroad track?
The poor driver who’d see it all?
Walking home to his wife and child only to say,
That he killed a man today.
Or maybe reliving, one last time, everything you used to like.
Or praying that, just today, the trains wouldn’t be on strike.