Battlefield National Park 


When my teenage son shouts at me that I am “worthless”

as his father retreats hastily behind closed lids, feigning sleep,

(perhaps because he agrees),

I flee,

climb into my car, drive away fast


to Battlefield,

where I calm, drowse, dream,

sometimes reading, sometimes writing,

mostly just lying quietly on the old quilt I keep in the trunk,

my mind carefully still.


Exhausted by inertia,

eyes burning,

I stare up

between the tangled branches of trees that are over a hundred years old

into the blue sky above.


They are unimpressed, these rustling giants, by my pain;

they have watched the grey and the blue die,

shrieking boys and men calling for their mothers

as their blood made ponds in the scrubby hayfield.

(Did those boys, in anger, ever shout “worthless”? Would my son, in his last moments, shriek for me?)


To the indifferent elms above, I am just another ghost   

restlessly hoping that something better is waiting for me

when I finally rise up and head home.