What Used to Be…

You can’t sleep tonight.
Neither can I.
You bolt upright in bed,
Staring into the dark with your paranoid eye.

What are you thinking?
If only I could understand.

The places you’ve been, the things you’ve seen.
You’ve been to that infamous land.

My dearest friend,
When I try and calm you down,
You shake off my hand, and look around.
All you do is sit still and stare.
Looking at something that is not there.

Don’t you think it’s a bit odd
How you can’t remember,
Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas in December?

I must say you are not the same person that I used to know.
I remember so vividly, how your face would glow.
But now that’s gone. Your face is calloused and sour.
You seem to drift farther away from me with every passing hour.

My lifelong companion,
Don’t you see what this has done to us?
That fateful day when you boarded the bus.
I prayed for you every night.
I tried to be strong.
Especially when you said to me, "This is where I belong."

Belong to where? I did not understand.
Belonging to a country that calls up men and sends them away?
Sends them to that infamous land?

Belonging to a country that throws our youth away.
Many coming into this life, yet more leaving it everyday.

My beloved husband,
I too, have had restless nights.
In frustration, I’d turn on the lights
And think of you.
Somewhere, over there,
Doing whatever your country told you to do.

I was so relieved when you came back.
But there was something about you that you seemed to lack.
Was there something you had left behind?
Your zest for life, your spirit, your mind?

Whatever it was, it grew very clear,
How you were still gripped with fear.

My haunted soldier,
Why can’t you see?
This state of mind that’s paining you,
Is slowly killing me.

Do not worry. You are safe, come back to bed.
You’ve had a long day. You need to rest your head.
Just relax and sit by me.
Together, we’ll remember how things used to be.

By: Amelia Rose, age 14

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About the Author: Amelia Rose