Lloyd C. Honoré

LIKE A BROTHER

IWVPA Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of Excellence
Awarded: November 2004
How long is sixty years?
Not long enough
that I should ever forget
the circumstances
around which I met
that African American soldier
(we were called Colored or Negro then)
at an army camp
in Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Four
of which neither the name
nor the place
even exists anymore.

How that negro soldier
perhaps some four years older,
seemingly apprehensive
of my situation
though himself no relation;
(but) apparently more concerned
than some of the others,
chose to befriend me
by becoming my “big brother.”

Henry, did that
somewhat bewildered,
seemingly naive, and perhaps
first-time-away-
from-home recruit
for whom many others
didn’t even give a hoot,
remind you of
your own little brother
or even some other
like yourself at that same age?
If so,
now, I’ll never know.

Not only were you
like my brother,
you were also
like my guardian angel
who, even though
I could not see,
was constantly watching over
and protecting me.
Thank you, Henry!

Another soldier
has gone home.
May his soul
rest in eternal peace!

Author’s Note: In remembrance of Henry E. Bill, my “big brother” and “guardian angel”