The hill stands innocent
as it always has –

empty now, or perhaps drowsily
crossed by weekend strollers.

What is left of you there,
your fellow soldiers:

the mud of your steps,
blood melting the snow?

I breathe in here, where I am now,
and wonder if walkers there breathe you in.

I ask if they have come to know you
as you were, as I never will –

young, hunkered down,
slipping past signposts.

Hills hold memories in their bones,
in their muscles of rocks and roots,

in the chimes of their leaves overhead
where they mix them with now-life.

It is for us to breathe and to witness,
to categorize if we can,
to share, to mix with our own.


For my father on Veteran’s Day.