Issue 8 – Artz


Patrick Artz

Letting Go of the De-Parted

A cannonball neatly removes the limb,
cauterizing the stump in one clean sweep.
The de-parted arm lies lightly on the grass,
as though on display for its former owner.
The soldier extends for the arm with his missing arm,
then pauses,
pondering a life of un-reaching.

Even decades later,
he would absentmindedly try to scratch an itch,
or shield a blow,
grasp a pint,
caress a curve.

Apart from any war,
still my young son is dead and gone,
a departure cauterized by disbelieving suddenness.
Today, as I walked past a playground,
a child cried out,
“Daddy!”

I startled,
turning to the cry,
as though extending both arms to catch a sudden stumble,
Unfamiliar eyes greeted me with guarded puzzlement.
I withdrew with a slight smile of apology to the playground,
recollecting yet again a vital part of me unreachable.