The Old Warrior

This one’s an older work of mine, but one that I’m rather fond of:

The Old Warrior

My favorite photo of you
doesn’t have you looking your best,
but it’s you at your best.
It’s the photo of you taken
on your nephew’s wedding day.
You’re sitting alone,
slightly battered pink with drink
and hammered by the sun.
You’re in a yellow sundress
that hung low.
It was during your indulgent years,
where you ate our scraps
so starving children wouldn’t cry out
in indignant outrage.
You’re looking wistful, off in the distance
of the small reception,
not focusing on any one thing.
You’re looking almost bittersweet,
and contemplative.

Yet, you also looked, no, you were,
you were tired.
I wouldn’t learn until a year after why,
but your husband’s indiscretions
had only been revealed
at least partially
a day before the big day.

The exhaustion of the news,
the battle that must have ensued
when the bomb was dropped,
made your eyes thoughtful,
perhaps wondering what this new
married couple
would have in store
after you had scrambled to salvage your marriage
in the wreckage.

But there was something else,
in spite of everything,
you still looked content,
at least at that moment.
It was as if you had made peace,
the war ended,
and finally,
you had come home.