You spoke the only true word I know
And that word became an open wound
They cleaned with lye, not knowing
Your pain, your tears were like wine
That would save their sorry souls.
Pick up the rifle, son
No you said
That’s no SIR, son
Pick up the damn gun!
No you said.
They called the captain
They called the priest
They called the doctor
Are you crazy, son?
No no no
Come with us!
You walked away.
I see you now forty years later
alone on that far thundering shore
“I will not fight your fucking war!”
You are carving a face out of driftwood
the face behind the face of every man I meet
I have it still and think of you.
You came back. True to your word.
And they sent you to Leavenworth
Where your bruises became sores
Your sores gaping wounds
Your screams the blessing
That saves our tortured souls.