Memories about a young soldier lost in battle
The small three-bedroom home rests comfortably
atop a small rise, a second-floor bedroom window
gently caressed by the leaves of an oak
he used to climb as a child.
Remnants of a crude clubhouse
rest precariously in a fork slightly below.
Out back, maybe 100 feet or so behind the house,
there's a small building - the entire front
consists of a single overhead door.
Inside, perched on blocks, awaiting his return,
is a well cared for dark-blue Ford Focus -
battery disconnected, wheels removed,
carefully draped by
a sun-bleached olive cotton tarp.
The path between the shed and the stoop
outside the kitchen backdoor remains discernible,
though grassed over considerably these
past six months.
Affixed to a kitchen cupboard cabinet
just inside the door and near the staircase
is the key ring board he fashioned
during wood-shop class -
carefully shellacked pine.
The keys to the Focus dangle here with
a smattering of other household keys.
The stairway is two-tiered - second floor
bedrooms and a cozy attic which had often
hosted pre-teen club meetings when the bite
of winter precluded use of the tree-house venue.
An old baseball glove, worn ball in its pocket,
lies in the attic alongside once favored novels,
an old pocket-watch, a Power Rangers code ring, an
iPod, outgrown favorite jeans, a Boy Scout uniform.
In his bedroom closet, more recently worn apparel,
scuffed loafers on the floor, high-school notebooks
crammed with awkward but honest handwriting
stacked on a shelf.
A wall in the living room give pride of place to
a number of pictures - high-school graduation,
a boot-camp mug shot, platoon graduation day
(he's there - third from the left, second row),
the proud Private in full dress uniform
just before shipping out forAfghanistan,
a candid shot with friends atop their
Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
This is the last picture.
Resting on the mantelpiece in the den -
an assortment of medals, a folded flag.
Within our memories - a loving boy,
a proud soldier, an American hero.