Daily Prompt: Identity

This is from WordPress’ prompt for Monday, September 2, 2013 – Labor Day.

Do you know the meaning of your name, and why your parents chose it? Do you think it suits you? What about your children’s names?Photographers, artists, poets: show us IDENTITY.

I like addressing these daily prompts for two reasons. One, they challenge me. Two, they expose me to a larger audience. So, here;s my effort.

In my second book, the title character, Lt. Kendall Everly, experiences a tragic identity crisis. A pacifist, he is becomes exposed to and a part of the grime, blood and death of America’s Civil War. The piece is a letter Kendall writes to his wife from a makeshift hospital tent. His leg has just been amputated.

Cover Image: The Journals of Lt. Kendall Everly

Dearest Elizabeth

August 7, 1861 – Entry II

Once consciousness baited
my attention, my dear Elizabeth,
I discovered I was in this hospital,
but I am no longer a man who
can be mended. This war has swallowed me.

I’ve forgotten my name. Your smile,
your skin – both soft as silk –
are vapors, the ghosts of my former breath.
The children, their laughter –
What is laughter? I’ve tasted the blood

of other men; it’s hot and bitter.
I’ve scratched my skin
on the jagged ends of broken bones
and souls. I’ve stolen the lives
of men and boys. I’ve forgotten my name.

I cannot return to you.
I no longer exist.
I am not husband
nor a father, nor a son.
I am a wretch, cursed

and trampled. My heartbeat
rattles against my mind.
It must be stopped.
God wants it to stop.
I am cursed. They’ve come

with their saws. They’ve come
for my leg. Today, I will die.
I’ve forgotten my name.

God has forgotten
my name.

—————————————————–

If you enjoyed this poem you’ll like both of my Civil War books. They are published by Anaphora Literary Press and are available on Amazon.com.

 

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