Robin Amy Bass

WHEN YOU WAKE

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: May 1, 2007
Awarded: May 1, 2007
You are waking these nights
As I sleep by your side
You are walking the hallway
With your eyes open wide

Though you claim you see nothing
You have not seen before
Though you try with a vengeance
You cannot forget war

We are coupled these days
We are holding on tight
We are closer than ever
Neither one has lost sight

Of how quickly time passes
And how quickly life ends
Now we share awareness
For we both have lost friends

In an instant – a second –
In the blink of an eye
We have nurtured close friendships
Only to watch these friends die

I have tried to explain it
You have told me don’t try
You have listened intently
You have let me just cry

You have tried to look happy
When I know you are sad
You have feigned satisfaction
And have claimed “Not so bad”

When I know you are hurting
So I pray that you heal
I am learning acceptance
I am learning what’s real

It’s the sound of your breathing
As you turn out the light
It’s the clasp of your hand
As you whisper goodnight

It’s the shift of the mattress
As you wander the hall
It’s the creak of the door-frame
Then I hear your voice call

As you look for the wounded
And the ones who are gone
I can hear the clock ticking
As we head towards the dawn

How I wish I could fix it
When you stare at the black
But I’ve learned to be patient
I believe you’ll come back

To the land of the living
So I wait by your side
When you wake in the morning
With your eyes open wide

Author’s Note: Written for Tim