For Those Who Have Lost

Silence like the inhale
before the exhale
of the ex-pianist 
who lost his arm
saving his quadrant
from a land mine.

A moment of silence
for the men and women 
who gave their lives 
for a country of ingrates
who never offer any words of hope
or even a silent smile.

The silence of a mother
brushing her daughters raven-like hair back behind her ear.
A mother who had to beg for one last moment
to memorize every freckle and curve
as well as every pore and eyelash.
The silence of a final embrace.

A smile, quietly plastered on 
to hide the screaming youth.
The silence before nervous laughter
swallowing back shallow sobs.

The silence of a wolf stalking its prey
before a bullet enters its brain from behind.
And the silence of the pups
watching from a distance.
Then the clamor of the gunmen 
ecstatic with their catch,
falling silent only seconds before
the tortured howling and cries
from the orphaned beasts
surround their sub-conscience
for the rest of their lives.

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