Those recruits cough up two,
four, six years for me.
Give up Friday's pool games and
Sunday's sauntering brunches.
Tuck away days to mark births,
hoping the catch-ups will recoup skipped joy.
Turn away from the sprints
of kids, nieces, and nephews,
racing from infancy to teen over a night.
Watch their peers climb busy ladders
to prestige and flashy titles.
Draw comfort, not from the hugs of moms,
grandmas, wives, husbands, daughters, sons,
but from the rowdy backslaps of their buds.
Crouch on boxes through nights without light.
Sweat on cots lined against hot clay walls,
They do it for me.
Lay life on line, each day,
each sweltered, reddened night,
It matters. To me.
from The Silence of Bright Star
by Susan Lowman-Thomas