A TIME TO LET GO

A U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter...

A U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter (s/n 52-2630) RAF Mildenhall. This aircraft is today on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boeing B-47A Stratojet 49-1902 refueled by Boe...

Boeing B-47A Stratojet 49-1902 refueled by Boeing KC-97. (U.S. Air Force photo) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You carried a duffel bag
and carbine rifle aboard the KC-97.
As your plane taxied for take-off,
I held our baby son
more tightly.
See you in a little while.
Your words beat inside my heart
louder than the plane’s big engines
which roared into another country
some hours later.
Your letters came regularly, at first,
then stopped
abruptly.
Missing in Action the uniformed
officers came to tell me.

Your name is engraved
on the Wall of Vietnam Veterans,
forever in my heart
and in the heart of our son
who enlisted yesterday.
See you in a little while.
His words echoed yours
as he departed.
My words stuck in my throat,
reached into my heart and
chipped at the ice caked there.
I watched another determined
young man report for duty
and I begged, oh, please
Dear God, please.

© Freeda Baker Nichols