It's Here, poem by Ysabel de la Rosa

      Last time I saw you was a wedding
      on a sunny autumn afternoon. Old
      friends gathered, glad to see each
      other again, happy to celebrate the
      beginning of a new life in love.
      Now I learn that you, my friend,
      are in war. Not at, but in.
      War.

      Your fellow pilot went down yesterday,
      down to death. A hair-breadth of moments
      kept your own wings from explosion,
      saved your flesh from the fire,
      though your loved ones did not know this
      for a gripping stretch of hours.

      I have felt this war deeply,
      protested its circumstances,
      sent a care package to a soldier
      I will never meet, prayed for the
      troops sent into “the jaws of hell,”
      all the while thinking that this war
      is over there—somewhere else—
      till now.

      I have looked into your honest green eyes,
      witnessed your quiet strength and
      integrity, felt your sheer goodness
      and courage. You are real. As real
      as the war that is no longer over there
      for me, but here, and now. If those of us
      lucky enough to live on peaceful plains
      could see, could feel, that wherever the
      blood may spill and the bones splinter,
      war is always here—never truly there.
      If we could see that sooner or later,
      even the far war will touch,
      will scare, will scar us all
      in some unforgettable way,
      would we do more, would we grow
      fiercer about ending this atrocious art?

      Because you, my friend, are there,
      the war is here. I look out my window to see
      clouds cover the morning sun. The wind
      comes up, and stirs and whips
      the trees. Even the sky knows: the war
      has touched home. It’s here.


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Ricia Anne Chansky
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