The Veteran’s Hallow

Your palace is red and gold, hung with white silk
stone lions and birds of prey, great armor, weapons
line the walls and it is martial, grand, glorious
but that is not it’s sacred heart, in the fourth heaven
past the Bell-Trees and great Lake of Memory, in the plains
of the fallen and remembered, where I first saw you, a girl
who did not know the name of her soldier and guardian, you
have built a prayer garden at the heart of your palace,
hung with ivy, creeping jasmine, and thickets of red roses
that blossom with the most secret of prayers, there we go
when moonlight is thick as honey and the nightingale sings
starlight illuminates us as we sit together and listen to the
penitent’s voices, from your tears rise the Cherubim, we
look in the reflecting pool (my myth, I thought you the moon)
your room is like a monk’s cell in a monastery, soldier blue
a single leatherbound book under your sword, a sharply made
bed with fluffy white pillows, narrow with a single high window
of grated steel, we fit on it, my legs swing over the edge,
and you tell me that we will forever be here in this garden,
that if I close my eyes and look into my heart, I will find you
your blooms, hear the prayers of billions, mankind’s harbor
is at the center of your palace, your Father looks down from
above, above where angels fly and demons fall and night brings
the simplest of peace and pieces of dreams, we see ourselves
in each other’s eyes, and suddenly I know, you are my shield.


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