War Nurses and Lost Fathers - For Memorial Day

by Myra King

You tell them anything

they want to hear,

my mother, a nurse, says,

when I have

come of age

to know such things


I have been mother

to a hundred soldiers

holding their hands

barely knowing

their names


I strut my childhood


tough as tanks

from my father's regiment

coffins of steel,

they and I,

closed in


release comes

only in

fragments, from




your father would have

felt nothing,

not like those poor souls

I nursed alone

while shells bloomed overhead

leaving their roses in the ground


and the papa,

I have never known,

will grow

in mind until

our ages merge

and the last candle is 

blown out,

on wishes unmade.