Washington DC,   1983

The smell of roses on the ground that is what I remember. Even now I follow their scent and picture their garden. I was six when we drove from our home in Maine to Washington DC. It was summer, the park and its concrete paths were full of people and pigeons. Neither noticed me as I walked toward the wall with my parents. It was a wall full of words. I remember thinking it was a giant book or several giant pages from a giant book, a really sad book that made people cry when they read it. My mom and dad cried. They told me my momís brother was in that book, he was in that book and was never coming back. They even showed me his name on one of the pages. Why was he never coming back I asked? Did he do something wrong? Did everyone in the book do something wrong? No, they told me he was a hero, someone very brave and so were all the people in the book with him. That was why the book was so tall and why their families and friends came to read it. They came to read it and see their loved ones names in it. Each name they said was like a fingerprint in stone, a voice inside a sea shell. My mom took roses and a picture of Private First Class Jeremy Griffen and placed them on the ground. Then, with my dad beside her, holding her touched the wall for what seemed like a very long time. And though I remember they talked about it every year after that they never did find the strength to revisit those words, those fingerprints chiseled in sans serif, those voices laid to rest in open caskets of granite.

by Contributing Poet:     Brian Michael Tracy   Copyright © 2015
      ( First published in   2015 )

Bio:   Brian Michael Tracy   was born, raised and educated in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his BA from Stonehill College and his Masterís Degree from the Harvard University School of Design. Tracy's work has appeared in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Plainsongs, California Quarterly, Depth Insights and on spoken word radio programs throughout the United States and Canada including stations KPFK in Los Angeles and CIUT in Toronto. Brian is the author of three books of poetry Driving With Dante (Conflux Press 2007), The Distance Between Shores (Conflux Press 2009), and Opaque Traveler: A Dream Sequence in Verse (Tebot Bach 2012). He has also released two critically acclaimed CD's of music and poetry, Midnight Tea (2007) and Blackbird Ballads (2009). Brian lives with his wife Kathleen in Palm Desert, CA where he is President/Owner of Retail Net Lease Properties, Inc, a commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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