© June 6, 2016 by Swami X


After serving a tour of duty

As her husband

Where he provided

love and loyalty

romance and respect

compassion and care

He leaves to serve his country

FIRST VIGIL--soldier on bus kissing girl

Their last day together

They lay in bed

And reminisce first times

talking on the phone


making love

saying “I love you”

Their first

music concert

road trip


And their plans

To share a whole life

Of “firsts” together

FIRST VIGIL--couple in bed2

He had left many times before

But always returned

This time he goes missing

He is lost

…but not forgotten


When she first receives word

That he isn’t coming home

An earthquake

Shatters the foundation

of what she took

as her forever

Her heart cracks

And releases a wail

Of devastation

FIRST VIGIL--collapsed woman

The first night

She lights a candle in her window

Not mourning

But a vigil

Awaiting his return

she remains hopeful

without expectation


Days become weeks

…become months

…become years

Lighting candles

Becomes her duty

She is a soldier

Who follows orders

Without complaint

serving something

greater than herself

FIRST VIGIL--soldier kisses girlfriend's forehead

At first light

She calls out his name

And waits for a reply

But is greeted only

with melted wax

a burnt wick

a silent home

She closes her eyes

And imagines him saying,

“Good morning, Beautiful,”

Feeling the same quiver in her heart

as the first time

those words

entered her ears

and weakened her knees

Each night when she goes to sleep

Each morning when she awakes

And all the hours in between

She thinks on her love

FIRST VIGIL--soldier kissing girl

She has chosen not to remarry

Her first marriage being her last

for her heart is bound

to him forever


If he is buried underground

her heart will turn to dust

If he is buried at sea

it will sink to the ocean floor

If he is burned

her heart will become ash

And if he ever returns to her

only then will she place her heart

back inside of her chest

where it will beat just for him

FIRST VIGIL--missing soldier plaque

And soon her memory

Starts to fade

She needs pictures

to remember the details of his face

Her journals

to remember the nuances of his ways

And lighting candles

Becomes a ritual

Whose original meaning of hope

Is long forgotten

She is a soldier

Following commands

without question

A mere private

Listening to the orders given by

Her Commanding Officer

FIRST VIGIL--Soldier in light

And finally her aged body

Lays in her bed

Cold and lonely

Ready to leave

the black and white Earth

whose colorful partner

had disappeared

with the brushes

that painted her world magical


FIRST VIGIL--color zebra  FIRST VIGIL--color

She questions

“What have I lived for?”

And his face appears in her mind

Her numb heart revitalizes

Pumping love through her veins

And a spark in her eyes

And she remembers

Right before her flame

like the candles

Flickers out for the last time

…and she doesn’t die alone

FIRST VIGIL--old woman

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