When the casket rolls out onto the tarmac,
the men in their yellow vests come to ceremoniously greet you;
some with their reflective lights still in hand and voices still blaring in their ear pieces.
All the while, we move about in our recycled air of freedom.
A woman pages through magazines to ease the boredom.
A child intent on carrying her luggage lags behind.
Strangers dash and pray to make their departure times.
An agent makes the last call for gate close.
The pilot says, “Flight attendants, prepare for take-off please.”
When our agent comes on the gate loud speaker,
she announces that you would be riding with us on your final trip home.
Outside, the soldiers stand with their shoulders squared.
Make precision turns under the roar of the engines.
Bend stars for the God we all trusted.
Strangers peer from the safe distance of the terminal window.
Tears rise up to be strangled whole by the noon’s shadow.
Your body inches up on the conveyor belt.
When the belly of the Boeing 737 salutes you,
the dark crowded cargo hold opens to make room.
7,000 miles away, your brothers resume posts on bridges.
Patrol streets among enemies and friends in foreign lands.
Another city loses its grip against the war.
War and peace talks are held in the comfort of politics.
The local newspaper reaches nearly 200,000 homes today.
Your name is missing among the serifs’ broken lines.
When the silence is no longer dead but gone, the strangers return home.
New ones arrive buttoned-up in caravans to the gravesite.
A mother holds her uncoiled grief close to console it.
Alternated tears and smiles stretched out as she remembers.
Both move to the cries of the hymns being sung.
The earth is divided open with looming peaks on both sides.
The minister says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”