Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage


Morning sun filtered in at angles through the window

outside dogs bark as they are known to do at the rattling of the milkman;

breakfast served on faded plates salvaged from a dusty box in the basement

sat uneaten, and will most likely find its way back to the kitchen;

and she must then endure another lecture and gentle reprimands to eat more

along with the cooks motherly tsk tsk… sounding like a broody hen

she sighed, following with melancholy eyes the trampled garden path

that bordered the edges of the park across the street.

Almost she expected to see his hurrying feet, hurrying to her… but no, she muttered

no… I am merely day-dreaming… hallucinating… no longer aware of night and day;

the cold damp rises up through weathered boards and chills her, body & soul.

Of time she loses track, for months now the Grandfather clock has stood stock still & stopped

filigree hands paused eternally at 6 o’clock;

She bade the housemaids never to touch it… ever.

Sprouting daisies bespeckled the lawn beyond the window but she despondently

refused, at wits end with grief, to leave the room… her tomb… her self-imposed area

of exile… and still she dwelt at the gates of hell tortured by the memory

of those brown eyes… those loving eyes.

Waves of anguish washed over her like a fog… stealing even the sweet release of sleep

toss and turn in nightmare clutches… up in the wee hours to hide from reoccurring visions.

What’s happening to me, she sobs, collapsing in a twisted heap on the floor

she sees her face reflected in the three bay window

tears stream down three pain-wracked faces.

Sunlight falls in from a clear sky, outside the birds in graceful flight

skim the bottom of the garden but never alight but she notices little of the birds’ joy and delight;

she watches the park… the busy street… imagining she hears his tapping feet.

And passing neighbors glance up to see her sad and shadowed face

all wave in greeting but a tear lingers in their eye, they never get a wave from her

so hurry on by, so little they can do, a simple wave as a passer-by.

With solemn eyes they hurry away down the muddy street

gents with their dapper hats, the ladies with ruffled skirts;

An aimless thought almost made her smile… a sweet memory that hovers in her heart,

the day her young man professed his feelings… vowing they’d never part

shouting love into the soft spring air. Bells rang soon after, chiming to the rafters

And then the moment vanishes… as realization crawls along her spine

for the future seemed so empty, no level of release can she find;

as the morning sun shifted across the roofs

she let the minutes drift by, each silent second, like the one before

as young widow wept another causality of war.



4 thoughts on “Collateral Damage

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