"Weep!" (Soldier Boys of the 21st Century)

She was weeping, her mouth trembling, trying to talk, but her body was shutting down, she reached across the kitchen table, her hand moving slowly, her hand, other hand, pulled back the reaching hand that was trembling, trying to serve her younger boy some greens, her hand seemingly locked onto the ladle (with its masculine handle), she looked up, caught his eye-gazed at the photograph beyond and above the boy's head, on the refrigerator, both boys looked similar-although the boy in the photograph was three years older, the American flag behind him, three colored ribbons on his chest, a heap of people saw it, neighbors, visitors-a heap of people she knew, but he died in the war for those who never had seen him, for those who would never have recognized him-anywhere, anyplace, at any given time, and her voice sounded unfamiliar, unlike her real voice, like it never had sounded before to her younger boy; then her husband thought- 'That voice ought not to have sounding like that, it's a dying voice, one that is giving up.'

"I know," said the husband, "for our country, he died for our country!"

"This country, your country, his country (pointing at the boy) -mine, it's all wrecked, impure, cracked, shattered, damaged by all those godforsaken war-worms, long before he was even born (looking at the husband and then turning to look at the boy), "she savagely remarked. "Oh yes, the forefathers (she continued) I have not forgotten them, those heroes we read about in grandchild, who fought and died for it, us, this country, you and me, so we could produce a litter for the next generation to fight and die for the following generation to do the same, now all they can say in their dirt hole is that they fought for an illusion, it was an illusion, we lost, I lost my boy, he never had time to form a dream, so he died for their illusion, in the interest of oil, glory of his comrades, for organized labor, foreign trade-he died for all the things he never knew about. "

"Yes, dear!" said her husband, "weep if you must." and tears rolled down her cheeks as she poured the coffee for him.

"Yes, oh yes I weep for a mislead country, for the politicians and demagogues that have mislead us all, who mislead our soldiers boys, I pray for them all that know no shame, or grief, or guilt. You men are incapable of guilt or shame in war; you call it bravery, principle and sacrifice. "

"It will take time," said her husband.

"When?" she answered, "and what is worth saving?"

Then her hands calmed-so her young boy noticed, and he sat up, erect, with pistol like eyes, hanging-slack eyebrows, he was fifteen-years old, and for a minute looking at his brother's picture, his mother's face, he thought. She laid her hands on the table, leaned over to him-took her handkerchief from her breast, "That's right," she said to the boy, "This one's for you, I weep for you, not for the dead, I wept for your brother the day he left for war, and the day he died. I do not weep for your father and I, we are old-I weep for you! "

She was still holding the handkerchief, forgetting she was holding it, "You have a chance now to learn, to find out why, before you go to war. I can not tell you why because I do not know," she said . "Perhaps it's a man thing, because none of us women can figure it out. We just weep and grieve, then try to let go, but we never do, I think this is our job, and once done, the next one goes off to war. But your brother, he knew why-! Tell me before you go off and get yourself dead-why? "

No: 479 (9-26-2009)