After Roger*’s time in the service,
his life went down the tubes.
Too much booze
and not enough work
and post traumatic stress
did a number on him.
A request out of the blue
gave him the courage
and the necessity to live again.
His buddy from the war
had asked if his friend could look after his wife
and children in case he should
not make it home safe.
With the buddy gone now, the buddy’s wife
was dying of cancer.
She was living in the hospital
but her two children had nowhere to go.
The place where Roger was house sitting for the winter
would not let the children stay there unless he was married.
“Sure, I’ll marry you,
if you can stand an ugly shell of a person
who can’t give you anything in return.”
Roger by this time had given up the monkey on his back,
gotten a job as an early morning newspaper delivery person and as a waiter.
All his money went toward feeding and clothing his new stepkids.
I saw him at this restaurant once ~
his eyes were penetrating and watchful
as if to wake up out of a dream
and watch the patrons
and try to remember how it felt
to live like they do.
Can you see him?
Marcy walks around in a daze
when she has a day here and there
with enough energy to walk.
Repeat motions. Repeat thoughts.
Repeat fears. Enough repeats already.
Can you see her?
Ryan* and Shelby*
feel alone in a scary world,
walking to the shelter after school
until their new daddy can pick them up after work.
They’re missing their precious Scruffy,
the dog they had asked for so many times
and now who had to be given away
so he wouldn’t starve.
Can you see them?
Will you help them?
* fictitious name