I’ll blame it on the rain

Sad

I had to be strong for him
to don a mask and hide
the effect of waking nightmares.
Smile.
No sign of internal wounds.

He is gone.
They are gone.
Friends, smile and wave,
adventurous, hope in too-bright eyes.
Kisses on lips and cheeks,
the warmth of hugs that linger,
handshakes and well-wishes
rest in their palms.

Overcast gloom, a pall
the brightness of sunrise
dimmed,
light mist on the faces of onlookers.
Loved ones
not saying goodbye,
but “I’ll see you later,”
and “Come home safe.”

A single commanding voice rises
over the din of buses and idle chatter
“Present Arms!”
Dazed by the sensation of being ripped in half
M-16 memories, formations,
and the imprint of a uniform no longer worn,
boots that will never again carry me
far from home,
I almost forget I no longer have to obey.
“Order Arms!”

Lights and siren as comrades left behind
promise to take up the slack in their absence,
Memories and present wedded, blur vision.

Pretend, I am too tired
to prevent my masked smile
from dipping around the edges.
He is gone.
The child who bears his face
sleeps in my arms, innocent and unaware.
I envy her peace.

But if anyone sees my tears
I’ll blame it on the rain.

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