Ooh-Rah

Your pain is in my DNA,
Father,
As real as the shrapnel
Still in your legs
Decades later,
Or the freckles dusting
My face –
Both are remnants
Of trial by fire.
You taught me to soldier on,
Left foot, right foot,
A boot camp for emotions,
Suppression, repression, depression,
Things that followed you to Canada
All the way from Vietnam.
I will never understand
The fathoms of hurt
The depths of the oceans
You swam, dutifully,
The tear in your eye
When you saw me carry the flag,
Wearing your beret.
The world of pain behind the poppy,
Which only pricked my finger,
But I saw it pierce your very soul,
Father,
A pain I’ll never understand,
But will always feel,
Coursing through my veins,
In each cell your love created.
We are connected,
Like all the brethren
You undoubtedly lost
Even though you would never say.
They are you, I am you.
Your pain is in my DNA,
Father,
Semper Fi.

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