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William. Wilderness VA. May 1864
lounge act
akmed
your sword is under my bed. when i brought it here, i couldn't park close to the house- so i walked with it several blocks, to the horror of everyone who passed me by. infantry sabres from the civil war are not small things. small now is any recognition of what you did.

for the longest time i never knew your real name- just ' grandpa medals'. those blurry damaged eerie pictures of a very old man in old fashioned collar and cuffs. those creepy follow- you- around- the- room -from- a- photo jesus/ old people eyes. tintypes. you died before i was born. i'm the only one who vists your tiny grave sliver of stone- found only because they still put a flag on it at memorial day. all that's on it besides your name is your army unit - no DOB, no DOD. i tried to find your wife's grave but can't- she doesn't seem to exist. she died in childbirth...very young. you spent your life slowly walking daily by the cemetary by the river-with your great grandchild, my mother who begged me to find her. if she's there, william- what's her name?- because she wasn't buried with yours. someone's not telling me something. william, whatever happened?

across a field in nantucket, your mother dragged you by the leg after beating you into the earth. it's a scene i watch over and over in my head. it seems so very clear to me. your great grandaughter did the same to me. when i was very young, i had nightmares about you. now i have silent menacing dreams from your grandson- glaring at me from heaven or hell or limbo. your pain screeches across my sky- out of the tempest, across all this time. of course i understand why you ran away to fight in Wilderness- just 14. we're all still running from it and in a way i run to it.

Sat in your Lap.

i didn't eat madcow hamburgers monday- i thought about you, william. thank you. i'm proud of you. now 'fess up.