Soldier Prayer Bands

—Written For James and Sarah Bascom
—Dedicated to: James Ely, Geoffrey Favre-Malloy, Jay Camirand, Wally Fox, Vincent Burke III, Rob Douglas, Matt Hull, & Storm.

The war went on and on,
shadowing dark all the front pages
in every form of media imaginable.
And in every one of them
I thought of you
in the war-torn streets of Iraq.
In the news, I scanned the
streaming videos on my desktop,
praying you were not one of the
missing or dead
praying for God's sovereign hand
of protection over you.

I wanted to get one of the nicest
soldier prayer bands for Sarah.
For Sarah and child were so alone
without you here.
I prayed that God would give them
strength, and hope and meet their needs.
Somehow I just never got up
enough money to buy one.
The cheap variety just would not do;
I wanted to give her the best one.

The many months passed while we
all watched and waited,
wondering when you would return.
But God comforted our weary hearts
and a month later than expected
you returned to Clarksville.
Everyone knew the soldiers were returning home.
Kinko's was stripped barren with print jobs
for welcome home banners and such
every night I was there this week.

The window of time ended to buy the gift.
I took it for granted, thinking that you would
be here to stay.
At church on this bright Sunday morning,
it was so good to hug an old friend,
and to say, “Welcome back Home.”

Only to be greeted with such an intro--
a well-thought-through recourse:
“Seven years ago, when I
didn't have anywhere to live
after my dorm room was broken into,
and I didn't know where I was going to stay,
it was a Saturday but by that Sunday,
I had a place to stay and you took me in.
Thank you, my four amigos.
Then I became the fifth amigo.”

Bascom arrived back to Forbes Avenue, and said,
“I'm home only to say goodbye because
we leave for Arizona tomorrow morning.”
I was doubly stunned, being dazzled
by his shock and awe campaign.
This was goodbye. No time to catch up.
The military was sending him
to school to learn things that war
had taught him hard enough.
I was a statue, stunned silent by his words,
my eyes were quiet and still.

You never realize how much people mean
until the aftermath like when the birds fly
away south for the winter.
Driving through the streets of Clarksville
now and by way of Forbes Avenue—
Watching the sunlight cascade through
the leaves as they begin to change—

The tree limbs are back-lit by the sun,
and these memories make me
smile like the sun is smiling now
above the place we used to live.
Roommates can be annoying at times
even the good ones, and you
were no exception.
But I value your friendship, the common ground,
and your faith in the Lord.
As the sunset fades across the city's expanse,
the last shred of light leaves the sky
I sit alone on a hill in pensive thought.
Thank you for serving
our country. You and each and every one.
For your hidden sacrifices.
For your great reserves of courage.
I may not have the expensive gift
I sought for Sarah but know this:
You have my gratitude.

About this poem

Originally this was p. 69 – p. 71 in Poetica, a poetry chapbook among four I had created, but the printed copies I was going to distribute were destroyed in a house fire in Hopkinsville, KY the day before Thanksgiving in 2013 along with many other works of art. It was a devastating event. Luckily, I was overjoyed when I found master copies of the chapbook that existed with my heavily written comments as well as comments from my thesis professors were saved in a work storage unit, and I was able to retype a lot of the poems. Other stories, novels, writing projects and pieces of artwork weren't so lucky. This poem is about some of my roommates, and three of the four amigos, who served in the military, and is dedicated to others I know who have served. 

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Written on 1996

Submitted by zero_of_nine on September 10, 2022

Modified on March 05, 2023

3:07 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 3,049
Words 618
Stanzas 9
Stanza Lengths 2, 12, 10, 10, 6, 10, 11, 7, 19

Curtis Carmen Davis

Curtis Carmen Davis is a Midsouth poet published in various regional publications in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi. He has received several Awards of Merit from the Nashville Newsletter Poetry Contests and won two essay awards for CCSB travel abroad study to London, Scotland, and later Ireland. In 2016, and 2017, he was published in The Secret Life of Poets poetry magazine. He lives in the misty mountains of East Tennessee. He likes to draw and paint in his spare time. more…

All Curtis Carmen Davis poems | Curtis Carmen Davis Books

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