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She Cleared Her Throat, Lifted Her Chin, And Continued To Speak
On the bathroom floor were two brothers lacing one another’s shoes
They know from their mother not to keep knots too loose
In little dress suits they helped each other stand up
Fixed their hair in the mirror with a half bristled brush
Their father comes to the doorway, says they’re gonna be late
Mom’s in the driveway, she’s pulling away
And it’s so early in the morning but the boys are so proud
They laced their shoes like pairs of boots and their marching through the crowd
Everyone’s dressed in green, still they search for their sister
What a role model she’s been, and lord knows they’ve missed her
Their seats were assigned, so they sat down to wait
Finally they spotted her walking up on to stage
The boys looked up at their parents, and Dad was covered in sweat
Mom wouldn’t lose sight of her daughter, trying to make eye contact
But their little girl all dressed in green looked only firmly towards the pulpit
When the chief called her name she walked straight up unto it
Addressed God and her comrades, they all said “welcome back sergeant,”
And even they were thinking then, they’ve never seen her so ardent
She said “I’d like to thank my family first for believing in me,
Their faith was as sturdy as the ribbon wrapped around our tree.
My brothers and my mother, I caressed you always in my mind
And Dad, you straightened my back when I tried not to cry.”
She panned her gaze towards the floor and bit at her cheeks
Then cleared her throat, lifted her chin, and continued to speak
“I’m not the same as I was two years ago, nowhere close.
I’ve learned of the pain and the dark of the world.
“It’s the soldier’s story. Always the same, always the same.
It’s not the things that we’ve seen, but it’s the things that remain
Memories get replaced like on a VCR tape, just imagine,
My first ballet recital riddled with bullets and shrapnel.
The friends I made here, we’ve become blood relatives
I never thought I’d lose them, but I did, oh I did.
I was trained, we all were, to be strong regardless. Regardless!
And I was all along, now I’m afraid of what’s hardened.
“When I go home soon, I will be guided by my mother’s hand
And I’ll rest in her bed like I used to as a kid.
When I wake, I know things won’t ever be as they were
Without my arms, who knows whats bound to occur.
Right now, please accept us few. We are weak, we are thin.
We’re not the children you loved. We’re not the friends we had been.
And although it’s grave, this sense of tension will never retreat
We don’t require much, desire nothing, just a warm place to sleep
I feel the embrace of all your love from up here on stage
We thank you all for coming, really, finally, we feel saved.”