I see this photo of you
with your kid brother
both of you smiling
before Afghanistan
What was it
to know you then
so bright and full of promise
most of all the one
you made to your mother
to live through it
I know you now only quietly
Was it war that sobered you
or were you always so


I tried to keep my heart unbroken
gathered each bead from the severed strand
pieced together shards of blue and white
I'll be alright if I just keep going
I told myself
But it would have been better
to simply name this grief
stop to sob in the middle of the sidewalk
the grocery aisle
the subway as it burrowed
its way through the heart
of this great beating city
until I knew
devastation is the beginning 
of the miracle I am meant to live