For you there is a checkpoint
Located outside of Camp Phoenix
Where once you pass it you can
Breathe again because you are.
You are alive for another day.
I have checkpoints too.
A phone ringing in the dark
And it is either you or someone else
Who knows you, knows you are dead.
Notices from the Army saying this
Not to tell or put up yellow ribbons
Because then everyone will know.
How I am completely alone.
Walking around a house heavy with breathing
Our sleeping children our house my job now
To check all of the locks again and again and
I watch the war on the news scanning the footage
Looking for you even bloody. How I look for you bloody.
When you come home for good there will be even more
More checkpoints these places we must pass.
When you see your boots in a closet unworn
Lined up and empty reminding you of soldiers
Who are dead and who may have been you.
Or seeing my back again facing you in bed
This massive trench our massive trench
That we do not want to cross.
Years later when we can talk about it
You will tell me what it is, obvious
And painful for me to hear. That
A checkpoint is that point
Where it is decided whether you are safe or not.