She was fidgeting with the elevator buttons
when the tears for you rolled through.
I knew upon the first slow trickle, down blush-applied pink cheeks,
that the herds of salty soldiers marching from my eyelids
were all for you today.
Untamable tears. Terribly Untamable, Mysterious Tears.
They might be my only offering to this world.
They might be just the start.
I let the tears scamper for a moment,
like restless children tumbling to see the first gleam of spring.
Propelling down over humps that were once
the bane of a chubby cheek existence.
Searching in my mind for ways to turn
Each Drop of Salt into Characters that sit Metallic in Blank Word Documents.
Because crying doesn’t solve anything,
(my mother taught me that one)
but words can do some good.
You held up a piece of cardboard two days ago and I knew it then.
Homeless. Veteran. Iraq.
These three words would call me to my knees one day soon.
Black Tights on Tile Flooring Praying for Men with Foreign Soil Beneath Their Boots.
My mind left stirring over a cup of coffee we never had.
Envisioning you taking me from start to finish.
Tell me the story of how a young man,
waking only to lie down for his country,
encounters that same sleepy-eyed country when its time to cradle him home.
When he fights well. Does Good.
Shouldn’t “thank you” be a phrase that
Drops Endlessly Off Our Tongues?
Thank. You. You. You.
I’m no politician. No picketer. No rebel.
My combat boots are all for show. Fashion, really.
No agenda. No protests. No Crude Words for Magazines.
I cannot talk Libya or Japan when I just want to talk humanity.
I cannot banter over military industrial complexes
when I simply want to know, adding sugar as you speak:
How did the air feel in your hair over there?
Whose arms folded you inward during tented dreams at night?
Whose laughter are you longing for? I know it’s not mine.
When did you start missing it?
Tell me the pitch.
Verbalize the tone.
You’d speak and I’d categorize your eye color into the
running concordance in my mind. Maybe the Blue Files.
Perhaps the Ambiguous Hazels.
Scripting you deep into the front line in the notepad memory
of a Syllable Seamstress with Untamable Tears.
It’s not much but sometimes we need that:
for someone else to remember our eye color.
Remember something about us.
And let their minds return back to it after longer days.
I’m going back today.
If I see you, I will ask you out to coffee.
Knees sunk into the floor of a 43rd street office space.
Turning tears into syllables for you. Asking words to be
brave enough to speak for a hero like you.
Wishing those Words Would Unravel into
Miles Upon Miles of Yellow Ribbon.
I’d string the trees in Central Park with Yellow Bows for you.
Fresh Yellow Bows. To remind the World that a Foot Soldier Came Home.
That a Foot Soldier with Blue Eyes Came Home.
And so who will fetch the water to clean the mud from his tired boots?