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Too Often

by Davelle Barnes

Too often

we soldiers


we are breakable

for the first time

in Anesthesia,

we wake up  

stitched together with

the fibers

of our past beliefs.


Too often

us soldiers

don't realize

the Arabic woman

in the middle of the road

has a soul

until we return home

and can no longer

find our own.


Too often

We as soldiers

don't notice

we have a story

until we read

many others

that move our eyes

maybe even our lips

but never touching home.


That will always be warzone.


Too often


have unpacking to do,

have duffles that last

longer than our love ones.

Stuffed with regrets

heavy and enduring.

Carrying sorrow

well beyond

our service obligation.


Too many soldiers

possess gifts

drilled out of our

feet and skulls

in the name of discipline,

valor and the science

of military psychology


Too often

the rhetoric

outlined in

the uniformed code of military justice

punishes our humanity

in the spirit of freedom.


Too often. Too many. Too much.

What it means to be a soldier.


Read all work by Davelle Barnes


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