I heard taps play over picnic grass graves.
It felt good to be remembered kindly for a day
No words of hate shouted, no reminders to my face
The forgiveness of sacrifice, seen in a different way.
I wanted to go like my brothers before me
I wanted to serve with my life, if necessary.
I wanted to be the hero that my father and my uncles are
I wanted to accept their mantle, to be their shining star.
But all I could say when I returned from that place
Was, “No more. I feel like such a disaster, such a disgrace.”
I lived in terror that tore me apart, shredded me inside out.
I couldn’t look in the mirror without hating my every doubt.
I couldn’t reach out for help, because who would understand?
That I didn’t even feel real, that I wasn’t even a man.
I was a soldier without a war.
I was lost in my inner storm.
Although I lost my life, not on the battle-field
My family still stood and by my graveside kneeled.
I heard taps play over picnic green grass graves.
It felt good to be remembered kindly, if even for a day.