07/04/2012 12:24 pm ET Updated Sep 03, 2012


Today is the Fourth of July and I am thinking about war. In America, it is a holiday. There will be barbeques. There will be parades. There will be fireworks. But I am a military wife, and today is the Fourth of July, and I am thinking about war.


I am thinking about war today,

About how war happens, and

What it does, about the bodies,

Bodies of men, women, or

Children, their clothes bloody,

Always lined up in rows, faces

Covered with blankets, lined up

On the ground and in the road, or

Piled up in the back of a pickup truck,

With their arms and legs and heads,

Necks, intertwined, like wires,

Crossed, and as if it doesn't matter.

I am thinking about the soldiers,

Sent to war to fight,

Who come home, empty, or broken,

Dead inside,

Gutted and stuffed like deer heads,

Or don't, who don't come home at all,

Killed by the blast of a bomb that sends

Their bodies flying through the air, and

Onto the ground, still dressed in fatigues,

But out in the open, camouflaged but not,

Their uniforms a pattern of war and blood,

And I am thinking about the widows,

All of the wives whose husbands left,

Went to war, and never came back,

Except in a body bag, on an airplane,

Lowered into the ground, and gone,

Covered with soil, still there, but not,

And I am thinking about the war,

How when my husband left,

When he was gone for fifteen months,

I felt free, somehow,

My husband away at war,

In a place where I could not go,

Could not call him, and

Could not know what it was like,

This place where soldiers die,

Every day, and my husband,

How he was,

Not dead, but almost,

Or me,

How I was always waiting,

For him to come home, and

How I wasn't waiting at all.

Copyright Amalie Flynn 1994-Present

Amalie Flynn is an American writer. She publishes her poems on her blog, Wife and War, based on her experience as a military wife whose husband was deployed to war. To read more of Amalie Flynn's story, go to Wife and War
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