Sitting on the broad window sill
Watching master take one last pill.
Downed with a beer chaser, he swallowed hard.
Gulp. Gulp. They said, “He let down his guard.”
Left a note on the table,
written in pencil
with no eraser.
He shivered, then quivered,
Then, he fell to the floor.
Next to his feet, his sad eyes did meet,
that one single tear.
And his best friend, his big snout…
took to smelling that old familiar fear.
Doggy Super Hero jumped through the screen door.
Running fast to the neighbor, no hesitation, no either or,
And hearing his master yell, “no more, no more. I can’t take it anymore!”
Tania peeked her head from the door, and said,
“Damn Atlas, what’s all that barking for?”
Doesn’t she see the invisible cape?
Doesn’t she care?
All red, white and blue
In that damn war, don’t you know, I could have died for you?
Finally, he lunges past her chair, where
She was held hostage by his intense K9 glare.
His bark told her: darkness spreads helter-skelter.
Like the bombs, there’s real danger
back there! Back there! Back there!
He bites furiously at the front window drape
To get her to see,
The clueless here, and the shoeless there.
Back there. Back there.
Doesn’t she know, doesn’t it show,
All the guts master had to scrape?
Now he’s dying, and he’s lying,
Aghast about a life, his strife, about a wife who left him dry
So fast, she didn’t even bother to cry, to try
and talk, instead saying “no,” loudly, to taking a walk…
To see what he wanted, and why he was haunted.
Yeah, she’ll never know what it’s like
to walk a mile in his master’s boots,
to finding out more about those deep-down roots.
All that wedding stuff… was just the ultimate psyche.
As light from a window cast a gentle haze, he could see the dust.
It began to settle after years and years, and piled-up fears,
concluding the nation’s reasons as some fucked-up craze.
He tried to get up, to get to his feet.
It’s true: “Life’s messy, not so nice and neat.”
The foam kept flowing from his mouth.
How did things go wrong and last for so long?
How did they go south, so far, and so fast?
Then, in the light from the window, he saw the error of his ways.
He knew taking his life, no less,
That was no way to go.
Doggy Super Hero flew to the house.
His battle buddy Atlas, to him, always to him.
Brave Tania on his four heels.
His cape fluttered in the wind,
The lights grew dim,
Too many pills.
How close did he bring himself to the end?
Narrow eyes started to close.
He felt Atlas’ kisses on his nose.
It grew dark, but hark, the next thing he knows…
As always, the moon rose,
and since then, he watches to make sure the light from it…
Doggy Super Hero, see him run.
Didn’t you see what had gone wrong?
Lucky, master chose pills over gun.
Either way, it might have been a real sad song.
But that’s not the way things went down.
Instead, he fought,
To get turned around.
Keeping the Bible close, seeing what was right,
Gave him might to fight against that dying of light.
Remembering friend not foe, the fighting’s over,
And far too many guys delivered on planes at Dover.
There he was alive, and…
Waiting for his neighbor Tania to arrive.
Now the man knows, and it shows.
He’s got a lot, and not
that shotgun aimed at his head.
That’s what his friends ridiculously said.
He had to laugh and sigh; If he didn’t, he might start to cry.
Then he felt, a part of him might die, in the depths of his heart…
And then, blown all apart.
The bombing noises started to cease.
In his heart, he’s finding peace.
A look over the farm, he finds no harm.
He hopes never, ever, but then there’s yet.
He hopes he never has to take that bet.
He spies a dove that flies above.
Feeling a body next to him, that must be love.
There, there, it’s only his furry friend,
Stopping him from finding the end.
There are days, like that haze in a window,
Ups and downs,
Those irregular smiles and frowns,
As there are in many, many of America’s small towns.
But in this one, on this day,
A soldier’s not about to be undone.
He’s kept his name off the rolls, no Taps for him, no funeral hymn.
Each breath like gold, God extolls.
Trying better than dying makes him bold.
He’s blessed with being a number that survived,
In meetings with other warriors he’s routinely high-fived,
happy to discover he’s more than zero,
Much like his Doggy Super Hero.