for alex in paradise

i walk a long lavender carpet into the layers of your life.

motherless child raised in grief and pain
fatherless son searching for connection in bars and homeless shelters.

weeping with you i envision redemption in mysterious heroic acts—

stiff-necked marine fighting for approval in crazy war
screaming vietnamese children and mothers
dying over and over
in your dreams.

bullets and bombs reverberate in nightmares
rock ‘n roll cannot tune out.

napalm smells and burning flesh wake you in terror
every night a new flashback
in the same old fatigues.

the hero in you got up each morning
to wage another battle—

fearless firefighter, tireless paramedic
sixteen years of burning buildings
and bodies.

saving civilians wounded on hungry highways
did not erase the face of embattled asia.

didn’t we mourn your mother/my sister mary
in our forest cathedral
birds singing backup
mother earth to catch our tears?

didn’t we dance our pain away
with fleetwood mac and jerry garcia
rocking on the phonograph?

our love evolved through timeless years
of comings, goings, beings, becomings.

you found faith in strangers
who became family.

you and i remained as one in heart connection
iconoclasts who shared a cross.

jarhead and wounded healer
perry point and ponytails
turquoise and motorcycles
jesus in cowboy boots.

the sound of taps rang in my heart
the day we sent you on your way.

your skyblue eyes are closed now
in peace at last
the mother and child reunion you’ve always wanted.

alexandra rymland
revised 2007