Christina A. Sharik

THE SUITCASE AND THE DUFFLE BAG

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: Tuesday August 7, 2001
Awarded: Tuesday August 7, 2001
Once, some long lost age ago,
my husband left for war –
It was only called a “conflict”
So I wondered just what for…

At some point, or another
he must have packed his gear-
I don’t remember helping him,
just watching him, with fear…

Off he went, with one small wave
and I waited for a year.
Michael began to walk and talk
and I wished his dad were here.

At some point in the fairy tale
my husband did come home
He had a duffle bag this time
and came back home, alone.

But, in the middle of the story
I flew off pretty far –
from PA to Hawaii,
for his two week R & R

My suitcase never emptied then
It was filled with memories…
I emptied it when I got home,
could smell the tropic breeze…

I have pictures of me, somewhere,
in a 2 piece bathing suit
flashing him the “V” sign
and giving a salute –-------

and every day in Paradise
we loved and laughed and talked –
(he was already different,
even in the way he walked…)

When I got home, I put my case
high upon the bedroom shelf –
until he got home from Vietnam,
where he had lost himself.

Of course, I didn’t know that yet.
We were transferred to a base;
by then he was so very strange
that I felt out of place…

I had that suitcase many years –
got rid of it one day,
but not all of the memories –
those times I packed away;

Long after the sad tale ended,
(as all fairy tales must do).
My ex gave Mike his duffle bag
and now he’s used it, too…

Submitted for the August 2001 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “The Empty Suitcase