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Every year your birthday
and Christmas
and Veteran’s Day
were your days
so I picked up my phone and called.

Dutiful daughter,
I knew you expected
the same on this day
and a rebellion took hold
of my heart

I thought
Memorial Day is for the dead
not you— you’re still here
But always, I picked up the phone

I know now that today
was the day the ghosts came
made the battle fresh
let your blood

and I called
but now I wish I had called
with compassion
let the resentment sleep

as now you sleep
for now, Memorial Day is your day
and I long for your voice

It’s finally your day,
and now I long for the privilege
of that call.

Rest Peacefully, Daddy

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.

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