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Student Voices

Photo: Joseph Blough

Nobody Knows

Nobody knows
until it's too late
& the Marine is on your doorstep
with a folded flag
(those flags are extra starched)

Nobody knows
when your heart stops
& the world stops
& you freeze in place

Nobody knows
how tears somehow become the blood
of your brother
or your dad
or your mom
or your anybody
and you can taste them
& have them fade
but they never exactly wash away

Nobody knows
except me
& that Marine
in his dress blues
& white gloves
(to say his hands are innocent of blood)
is standing in front of me
with an extra-starched flag
with a generic apology
arms out
but not holding up
my fallen body
or my fallen brother.

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