Dedicated to all those who suffered...more than we can ever imagine...
Remembrance was your greatest tormentor -
perhaps even your torturer. Now, all
your possessions, your wife, your life,
no longer held any meaning for you.
All had been superseded by the horror,
the sickening retro-visions
that came nightly.
This horror took on the hue of your bedroom walls
and concealed itself in the undulating folds
of the matching curtains.
You could taste the blood in your whiskey,
hear shells exploding in each passing car engine.
Body parts and lost faces lurked in their myriad lairs:
your candlewick bedspread,
your latticed windows, your carpet, your wardrobe.
You stared at these. You perceived the presences.
They hid in your army uniform -
that was their favourite place to lie in ambush.
When you dressed, you would pause halfway
to closely scrutinize jacket or trousers,
absolutely terrified of what may be secreted in the seams.
Khaki: fear personified
there in your hands -
the rising neurosis that threatened to choke you,
suddenly erupting into the uncontrollable shakes.
Your entire being turning to jelly.
Your wife, your son, your body, your life -
all dissolving into the carnage of the battlefield.
You could see it all, there
in the faded bloodstains ingrained in your uniform.
You knew the horror would never leave you.
So you took your own life.