By Debra Moore Newell
They taught him to march
They taught him to shoot
They dressed him up in a soldier suit
A fine figure in Class A’s crossed the parade field
And a handsome young man boarded a bus
But all I could see was my little boy
Off on his country’s mission
Now I rush home to check the mail
Hoping for a glimpse of his handwriting
I stop breathing each evening at 5 as I
Search the news praying he won’t be there
And the doorbell scares the hell out of me
My hands are chaffed from wringing
My knees are bruised from kneeling
My child stands on a wall
In a place where even the weather is hateful
And I count each agonizing moment ’til he’s home
My mind wanders, searching, remembering…
He playfully bounds up the stairs,
His lanky frame taking them two at once.
“Hey Mom, I just finished this great book…”
“Hey Mom, want to go to a movie with me?”
“Hey Mom, can I take you out to lunch?”
My heart aches.
My soul weeps.
My mind screams…”Oh God!…” no other
Words or thoughts come to form my prayers…
I long for the sound of his footsteps on the stair
…to hear him sing out…
Debra Moore-Newell is the mother of an only child. Brandon was in the MO Army National Guard’s MP battalion for six years. He served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He is now majoring in English and creative writing at George Mason University in VA and is still considering a career in the U.S. Army. Debra’s father is a retired WO4 from the LA Army Reserves. Her father served 18 years in the LA Army National Guard followed by 22 years in the LA Army Reserves. Her nephew SGT Ted Moore Jr, recipient of the order of St. George, is now stationed in Germany after two tours in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. Her brother James was a tank driver in the TX National Guard. Debra has made a living in graphic arts, photography, marketing, and journalism for 40 years. Now that she is retired, she is spending more time on poetry, prose, and journaling.