Thursday, August 28, 2008

Handful of Hopes

Jacob filled out one of those forwards that kids send around to each other asking trivial questions like what's your favoirte color, who were you named after... that kind of stuff. One of the questions was "Where were you born?" He said, "My body was born in Nampa, Idaho, but my heart was born in the snow-covered hills of Alaska."

Handful of Hopes

I have the day off today
Sitting in the barracks, I rest
Till I am called out again
To fight this war and give my best.

My make-shift home, a tent
Where I live, sweat, wake and sleep.
Plywood floor, wind blows hot,
Lonely hour, then day turns into week.

I sit outside the tent door flap
And sift the sand with my hand.
I pick it up and let it fall
Imagining I am home again.

The sand becomes a snowfall
That I saw there just last year.
Riding snowmachines in the hills,
Who ever imagined that now I'd be here?

I let myself go back there for a ride.
In my mind's eye I see the snow
Clinging to the exact leafless shape
Of every other tree along the road.

The rest are evergreens, holding piles
Of snow like a Christmas card scene.
Those memories and hopes to return
Are the contents of my each and every dream.

The dry, brisk cold of the air
Invigorates my skin and burns my eyes.
I plow thorough deep drifts of snow
Riding on trails that I have memorized.

The beauty of the landscape grips me.
The temperature, now minus 10, no breeze
Looks like someone carelessly cast diamonds
On the ground and in the trees.

Dashing back to the winter cabin,
My brothers and I, we race.
We head inside, take off our gear,
See the smile on my mom's face."

Hey guys, d'ya see moose along the trail?
Was it cold? How was the ride? "
Putting aside her book she asks,
"Who's up for hot chocolate, soup or pumpkin pie?"

The whistle of mortars brings me back.
Dashing to protect from shrapnel rain,
Instinct kicks in - I drop my handful of sand
And I become an American soldier again.