Judith L. Floyd
How well I recall that day, our hearts were full of life;
my son was off to college as we’d hoped for all his life.
With excitement running through our veins
we pulled his empty suitcase from its closet hideaway.
“Come on,” I said and grabbed my boy, “we have to shop today.”
Our journey took us all through town till our trunk had overflowed.
He looked at all the shopping bags and said, “It’s time to go.
We have everything I think I’ll need it’s time that we get back,
it’s going to take some time to get me organized and packed.”
With joy we brought the parcels in and laid them on his bed,
and that’s when dad came in the room and this is what he said.
“Son you got a call today, from your commander at the reserves.”
(The unit in which every month he had proudly served.)
“Here’s the number, call them back, they have some news for you.”
The look that passed across his face told me it was true.
He made the call and turned to me and said “I have to pack,
but college is not where I’ll go – I’m heading for Iraq.”
“I only have a day to get my things in order here,
so please just help me organized.” he mumbled through his tears.
A mother’s love knows no bounds, emotions can’t be hidden,
and as I cried and clung to him he did as he’d been bidden.
Army green, the duffle bag; army green, the gear;
army green was what he packed but what I packed was fear.
I thought about his future; how it had looked so bright,
but now what waited for my son seemed as black as night.
He joined me at the table later on that eve
and as I sat there crying he tugged gently at my sleeve,
“Mom,” he said, “the tears you saw me cry when I first heard the news
were tears of disappointment, so please don’t be confused.”
“I signed those papers long ago, knowing this could come,
and though you’re sad and fearful you’re not the only one.”
“Son, were going to pack your suitcase, you were going to start your life
get an education, a family and a wife.”
He turned to me and smiled and as he looked in to my face.
He said, “It’s just an interruption I’ll be back to pack that case.
Have courage, strength, and most of all don’t give up your faith
I’ll need your prayers, and others too, to sustain me in that place.”
“And leave my suitcase on my bed for I’ll be coming back
and when I do it will be you who comes to help me pack.”
©Copyright July 2004 by Judith L. Floyd
Submitted for the August 2004 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “Undueness”