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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)

TITLE: Crossing the Road
By Emily Gibson


Growing up on farms split by the road
Sons of sisters
We might as well have been brothers
For all the time we spent together.

From early on
I knew my life would differ from yours
You with the desire to see the world
And mine to work the farms at home.

It was always a part of who you were
Serving three long years overseas
Spoken of obliquely
If asked about, never really answered.

I knew you were battalion leader
Knew you spent many nights awake
Unsure if you'd see the dawn
Only to dread what the next day would bring.

I knew you lost friends
And your innocence;
Found an unfamiliar strength
In the mama's boy who cried too easily.

Somehow life prepared you for this:
Pulling your daddy out of bars when you were ten
Watching him beat your mama
And finally getting big enough to stand in the way.

Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian
Blood soaked beaches
Now restored and recreated
As vacation resorts

I let you go without knowing
Your full story
You could not share the depth
Of horror and the fear.

It was not shame that kept you silent
Simply no need to revisit the pain
In recollection.
It was done; it was finished.

As I set flowers and flag on your grave
I bring regret
Questions unasked and unanswered
Of a sacrifice beyond imagining.

Sleep well, my cousin brother,
I rejoice you wake to a new dawn.
I will be walking across that road
To join you all too soon.

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This article has been read 584 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ann Marie Lindenmeyer05/29/08
What a wonderful tribute to a hero and close family-member. I like the choice of 'cousin brother' at the end to again reiterate the closeness that was shared. Nice writing.
Beth LaBuff 05/29/08
I grew up on one of those "farms split by the road." I love that phrase. Your insight and story of your cousin is so beautifully and poignantly written. What a tribute.
Debbie Wistrom06/01/08
Your title tied all your thoughts together. I was touched my the part about being a mama's boy and not sure why...you cover so many emotions in so few words. WELL DONE.
Sharlyn Guthrie06/01/08
This brought me to tears. You chose just the right words to tell enough of the story, yet leave a little mystery. Wonderful poem!
Jan Ackerson 06/02/08
Cool--I'm trying to remember--you don't usually write poetry, do you? Very nice...I'm a big fan of free verse, and your is particularly rich in imagery.
Joshua Janoski06/03/08
Wow. This was very good. It really stirred up some emotion inside me as I read it. I don't know if this is fictional or based on a true story, but it was 100% believable regardless. Thank you for sharing this. I really enjoyed it.
Cheri Hardaway 06/04/08
This is truly excellent! I am always in awe of the writers of poetry, especially free-verse! Beautiful job! Blessings, Cheri
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/04/08
This is outstanding free verse with so many memorable lines. Just beautiful.
LauraLee Shaw06/04/08
Wow, beautiful.
Shirley McClay 06/04/08
Very moving and heartbreaking. Excellent writing!
Sara Harricharan 06/04/08
Wow! So neat-my favorite verse was the second one. It sort of showed me this picture of the two different lives. ^_^
Pam Carlson-Hetland06/04/08
Excellent writing.
LaNaye Perkins06/05/08
A beautiful tribute to our brave soldiers and a wonderful example of two different cousins. Well done!
Lesley-Anne Evans08/19/08
Just found your writing... thanks to Jan's master class reference to one of your poems... I'll be looking forward to reading more of your beautiful and incredibly well-written work.

Blessings dear writer.

Lesley-Anne Evans