Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sacrificial Lambs

by Mike Perkins

not all die
but many do
they come back
sometimes whole in body
but wounded in the mind
or maybe in pieces
missing one ancillary appendage or another
such as an arm
or a leg
or some creative combination
or perhaps all four
it is all
subject to
the vagaries of war
all based on a spinning moment
a probability
of timed confusion
the moment
which becomes the epicenter
the fall from grace
youth gushing from the man made spring
of traumatic fluids
framed by odd angles
with boundary markers of unnatural holes
from which something emerges
as if from a cocoon
in swaddling bandages
something new
yet old and unchanged
a vague resemblance of something before
but nothing stays the same anyway
during the recovery
which is never complete
just scabbed over
rubbed raw by prosthetics
chemical as well as mechanical
how do you salute without hands?
march without feet?
there is no parade rest for the deboned weary
then a medal
some recognition
awkward silences
inane comments
a jolly brave laugh attempt at humor
the bystanders feel wounded
and are comforted
by the victims themselves
in a
punch and cookie reception
then a check
then perhaps a pension of sorts
before the big forgotten


  1. Mike:

    Perfect! There is not a wasted emotion, an excess word, a disconnected thought. You have captured this abstract element of our culture wonderfully. Thank you for sharing. I hope this piece is widely posted and often commented. My humble best-


  2. Thank you for the kind comments! I am a vet myself and was writing about, thinking about, the vets that I am working with now. Inspired to write that poem though by a picture I saw of a general at Ft. Sam giving a purple heart to a young man with no right arm. That little medal seemed inadequate. Also, the general had lost his own son. Anyway, thanks for the comment.

  3. Once again I read a poem at The Camel Saloon so good that it makes me wish I had already read more work by the same author. Maybe that's my fault or maybe the author is only now beginning to submit work. Look forward to reading more.

    Donal Mahoney