Ron's Writing Contest Winning Story!
Post date: Jul 27, 2012 8:28:41 PM
The Cross on Iwo Jima
The grass and the jungle foliage are burned, obliterated, gone – as if they never were.
My memories are clear and distinct and fresh, as if they always were.
Sprouts, green, peek out from the mud after the first rain.
The memory of his face is strong; it is there whenever I call for it.
There is a green haze, a fog, it has been well nourished – the green shoots.
His starched, pressed uniform, the feel, the touch, the smell of starch are with me.
Little earth is visible now, but the deepest scars are still there.
I remember the sound of his voice, and how it raised a warm excitement and comfort in me.
The middle-sized craters are nearly filled now with rain and mud and vegetation.
He is always there, sometimes just below the surface, but always there.
The jungle shrubs grow quickly in the sun and warm rain and the rubble.
I heard the phone ring and ran to it, but it wasn’t him.
The insects buzz and fly from one limb to another; they will be the last ones to go when the end comes.
The anger surges, overwhelms me – why him, why not someone else?
Where do they come from? The snakes and the lizards, how could they have survived the holocaust?
But could I pick the other to trade him for, the others to grieve?
The second year and the third and the scars are less distinct, less clear, less savage.
I didn’t think about him until lunch today, it was a major success.
Rats, there are rats, their black eyes peer steadily, they have few enemies except the snakes.
I am not quite so angry, not quite so sad, should I be ashamed?
The shrubs are trees now, they dominate and hide the last reminants.
I had to look at a photograph today – I couldn’t recall his face.
Without the signs and the rusted steel and the markers no one would know.
Without my sadness, my tears, my anguish, no one would know.
By Ron Pickett