Checkpoint

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.

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