The Wall of Black Granite
A thousand yard black shroud
thrown over haunted spirits
weighing down sloping shoulders.
Prisoners, captured within
Black granite, our second skin,
those that survived
The slabs reflecting the horrors of war,
Reflective slabs honor those
who fell only if it deflects war,
If war cost stares back those who stare within.
Reflects, intensifies survivors guilt,
Defines it, redefines it.
“What did you do in the war, daddy?”
Why did you survive?
Why did we?
Survivors supposed to come home?
Perhaps the cost too high?
Does spirit of the living and dead
become welded to time?
But where is home?
Captured within black granite?
Belonging to our time in hell
a second skin,
smoking mirrors for war profiteers?
Illusions for panderers of endless war,
divides us into the inexplicable
those who served
those who observed
Is it a place for the heart to hide?
Final resting place for the pain?
Or, a measure of pain,
The final bitter sacrifice of loved ones
Black granite beckons us
To the, what might have been?
what should had been
what almost was
Rest easy weary brothers,
we are not so far behind
— Ken Williams has been a social worker for the homeless for the past 30 years, and is the author of China White, Shattered Dreams: A Story of the Streets and his first nonfiction book, There Must Be Honor. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.