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by Monique Gagnon German

The worst part is the silence,
no, the worst part is the insult,
the degradation that precedes
that silence but maybe the worst
part is built up over time, the way
it keeps showing up, even after
you think you defeated it, that last time
back in Pendleton, 29 Palms, Iraq
but here it comes again, grinning
spotting you immediately
in the crowd like a distant cousin
at the airport, smiling, shouting
greetings, arms out for a hug,
making its way as the sea of onlookers
breaks apart, creates a row,
it’s downright religious, you think,
as you look at their faces now,
how each of them sees what’s
coming for you, how none
of them want to be touched.

Monique Gagnon German is married to a retiring Marine with 23 years’ service to his country. “Adversity” was written specifically for him and made him laugh with recognition when he read it; this alone makes it one of her favorite poems. More poems by Monique can be found at:

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