Obama just announced a withdrawal of 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. 33,000 by September of next year. This is a good thing. But do not forget, when everything’s said and done, there will still still be tens-of-thousands of our men and women over there fighting for our freedoms. Never forget.


What a sheltered life I now lead.
I wake, dress, eat, drive to work.
Day after day, no bomb percussion,
gray and flame clouds blooming
over close farm fields or treelines.

No gunfire duck-and-run walks
with kids and dog. No low-flying
recon planes or camo’d troops
patrolling my lawn mowing
or our evening-lit windows.

I lie in bed with my wife with no fear
of being forced naked into the street-light.
I send my children to swim
in the neighbor’s pool and they come home
smiling, wrapped in towels, not body-bags.

Police or fire sirens raise ears for just as long
as it takes to guess their fender-bender accident
or kitchen fire destination.
Football rivalries don’t call for jihad
or road-side bombing the visiting school’s bus.

I sit in my well-lit office reading online editorials,
blogs from Beirut that say
I couldn’t sleep for my bed shaking from the bombs.

They sound closer and closer.
Maybe tomorrow they’ll quiet.

* I wrote this in ’06 after Israel began retaliating against Hezbollah for firing rockets into Israeli settlements. Almost ten years after I finished my enlistment in the Army.


Filed under Poetry

10 responses to “READING IN PEACE

  1. We are incredibly fortunate to live where we do. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Thanks Matt! Not only for the reminder of what others go through who do not have the same freedoms and safety that we have here in the U.S., but also your service.

  3. Pete

    Matt, how well you juxtapose our reality against what is the reality of so many of our families, neighbors, and friends. Lives changed, thoughts moved, time disregards it all yet time is what controls our experiences and our knowledge. It’s time to bring troops home. You’re right, it is a good thing and as experience has shown us it doesn’t bring an end, just change. To every past, current, and future enlisted man and woman I thank you.

  4. As you know, this is one of my favorites. Well done.

  5. Paul Johnson

    Gives me chills.

  6. Hoo Ahh! Let’s bring em home to their families..

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