When some old combat soldiers
tell me over beers how they got to be
what people called heroes,
they seem embarrassed,
saying they only did what their buddies
would do-–even the dead ones.
Then they put on sad faces,
like pinning on their medals.

One whispered his sorrow that
the real heroes died and he didn’t.
Moving closer, he rasped that courage
might really be what the guys had who,
when the shit went down,
turned in the wrong or right direction
(it didn’t matter, he said)
and were lucky enough to make it out.

For whatever reason, I thought of
the old soldier the other day–his claim
that what people who weren’t there
think is courage might just be so much wind.
Right there in front of me,
a swirling, breeze-blown potato chip bag
chased two squirrels
up a tree.

– Joseph Hesch

© 2015, poem, Joseph Hesch, All rights reserved


Jamie Dedes is a Lebanese-American poet and free-lance writer. She is the founder and curator of The Poet by Day, info hub for poets and writers, and the founder of The Bardo Group, publishers of The BeZine, of which she was the founding editor and currently a co-manager editor with Michael Dickel. Ms. Dedes is the Poet Laureate of Womawords Press 2020 and U.S associate to that press as well. Her debut collection, "The Damask Garden," is due out fall 2020 from Blue Dolphin Press.

Kindly phrased comments welcome here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.