Saturday, August 1, 2009

At The Hospice For Ailing Veterans

A Christmas tree
lights up a corner.
American flags
carefully folded behind glass
in wood-frame cases...
each with a metal nameplate,
commemorate the men who died.
It's a placid retreat
where ailing veterans
can reach the end of their lives
in dignity, in a bed
instead of a hospital ward
or the street...
He’s a veteran with liver and lung cancer.
The room
where he sits
is homelike
with a big-screen TV,
and a long, comfortable couch.
Most served in Vietnam...
the alternative would likely be
a veterans hospital or nursing home
-- or worse, the street.
Society doesn't really have a feel
for what goes on in the life
of someone who has been in combat
or been in a war.
The 62 year old veteran
had lived alone in an apartment.
He moved to the hospice
for companionship.
He keeps plugging along...

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