One Who Died Twice

A close embrace that could not be loosened,
A thousand inexhaustible kisses,
the promises of two hearts pressed close
could not be loaded in a hundred jeeps.

This man was a soldier going off to war,
a bug who had leaped into the fire;
the sweetheart, left behind, to face the fact
that call of country ranked ahead of love.

When months like a necklace of sighs
had passed, the soldier met his end;
the widowed sweetheart got the message:
“Your beloved has perished.”

One afternoon, a woman in mourning,
visited a church;
her hair was silver, her face gray as lead,
tears poured forth as she crossed herself.

With deep sorrow, she kneeled before the altar,
“God, have mercy on my son . . . ”
While outside the church, in a jeep,
the girl who was bereaved
waits in the arms of another soldier.