Katherine Fry

Returned Soldier

She wanted him to teach her fishing or
the woodwork he talked of turning to.
When he returned she bought him books
and tools to get him started. She dreamt
they’d chat long and easy over lines
in the river or choosing slabs of sassafras or cedar.
Lately she’s remembered his last words to her.
‘Take it easy.’ So simple, she almost didn’t hear them.

Now she sees how he lived them in the end:
she never guessed his mind battles,
the replays and recurrent flashes of war,
never guessed being could be so difficult,
never guessed he went fishing without the lines, turned wood without the lathe.