I can leave you only a wisp
of my breath and honest intent
as I pause, watching you,
with both eyes, a swollen heart,
and wonder if my wisp builds

upon you with all these others,
millions and millions I see now
and can only imagine, and worry
if we impose a burden adding
to all your sacrifices still

or deed a thing you do not know
at all, while you rest
behind that bleak veil, not
knowing, not being able to know,
and you perhaps wondering too

what you would speak
if that veil were lifted
and you could absorb all
these millions of wisps
shrouding you fully and ever

For my father on Veteran’s Day after having visited the Lincoln Memorial and other countless markers.