Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood, you suckled
on the nutrients of my body, growing from a tiny seed
into a burgeoning root that pushed from my womb
into the world, opening your lungs to inhale
the air of life, screaming your objection.

I held you in my arms, gently as a precious gem
that might disintegrate into dust if I pressed you
too closely to my breast But there you were,
the fruit that grew from the soil of my body,
always to be my other self, never to be severed
from that umbilical cord that wraps around my heart.

As you grew, I taught you to walk in this world
unafraid, I taught you the courage of manhood,
I held you close and said love, never hate,
for that will destroy you. I tried to implant in you
my heart, my soul, but I wanted you to be better than I.

And then, my son, you surged into manhood
with love and patriotism in your heart.
You sprouted u+pward like a strong limbed tree
believing in brotherhood and the veracity of country,
unable to understand the evil in this wanton world.

But the hearts of evil men care not for a mother’s love.
They are full of greed and hate, they want to destroy
the seeds that grow from our bodies. They want to plant
their own wicked deeds into the hearts of humanity
to take control of the world for their own satanic appetites.
They will not hesitate to bloody the world.

When the country you loved called you to sacrifice
your life to fight the evil that had exploded, unhesitantly
you agreed. How could you do otherwise when I
had taught you love of country. A part of me died
when you left my embrace, but perhaps I had been dying
a bit each day since you left the security of my womb

Heart of my heart, flesh of my flesh, they took
you away like a lamb to slaughter. They put that gun
in your hand and said “kill”. If I had taught you the evil
of this world, would you still be alive? Oh, my son,
the umbilical cord wrapped around my heart
is squeezing the blood from my body!

(Note: “Lamentation” won the 2010 Indiana Senior Poets Laureate poetry award)