Monday, January 27, 2014

Twenty-Two

Did you know that, on average, twenty-two veterans commit suicide every single day? The numbers are as shocking as the deaths are horrifying. We must stop this epidemic.

TWENTY-TWO 
Twenty-two of you will make the choice today
To make today
The last day.
You've sacrificed so much already
Perhaps it is selfish of me
To ask this of you too
But --
I don't want you to live
In pain
Out of your mind
In anguish
Blinded by dark things
You can't unsee
Deafened by wordless screams
You can't unhear --
But I do want you to live:
To continue to fight
To continue to breathe
To continue to be.
See, I've stayed at your present address
The smells were different
The sounds were different
The furniture was a different style
And the walls
When they were mine
Weren't decorated with the same images as yours are
But it was the same
Unspeakable
Undescribable
Unending
Stuff as yours.
It brought me to my knees too.
What has made someone like you --
Someone as strong as you --
Huddle in the darkness like I have
Arms wrapped around the nothingness inside
Breath sucked in through clenched teeth
As every scar is redrawn in blood and fire
By memories of ghosts and smoke
I cannot imagine.
But you've sacrificed enough already
Please
Please
Don't do this.
Give us
Give me
One more day
To help make it right.

"Some 8,000 veterans are thought to die by suicide each year, a toll of about 22 per day, according to a 2012 VA study. The VA acknowledged the numbers might be significantly underestimated because they're based on incomplete data ...."
11 November 2013
(c) 2013 Sarah J. Fuhrman