Winter Soldiers
by Karen Bingham Pape

Winter soldiers
Cannot come in from cold--
They grow old in memory
Of atrocity--weep silent
Tears after years of stone
Sleep, broken promises.

Where have promises
Of youth gone, after soldier
On killing fields? Flesh is stone
In the tomb, cold
As unwritten, silent

Blossoms drift down, memory
Leaves transient promises
As before, silent

Commandments written on stone
stone now gone, except for memory
And page. When history is cold,
Where are the promises?
Faithful soldiers
Lie down silent

Lambs. Silent
Sacrifices, stone
Hold memory
Like promises
Sealed in cold.

At death, cold
Seeps into bones, silent
Years? promises
Like stone
hearts petrified by memory.
Like lost young soldiers

We make promises to keep out cold.
We send soldiers into cacophonous, silent
Watches--cast stone in memory.

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