by: Pamela Basurto ©

Your father wouldn't come.
He stopped and turned away
when he saw this Black Wall
saying your name.

They have an index here,
like a telephone book,
and I found your name right away,
although I was in no hurry.

As others huddle in whispers,
I walk alone and listen
to a wall saturated
with endings.

There, there is your name.
The lettering is precise.
The spelling,

You are placed exactly
when you died,
between these thousands
of others.

Excellent records were kept
for those of us here,
as if this proves
this war was correct after all.

I still worry. Your father
shakes his head when I say
I pray our son
was not a virgin.

The crowd on the Wall
speaks, their voices roar
into a war cry
that only I hear.

Their words
can't be distinguished
no matter how hard I listen
for just your voice.

Do all parents come here
to hang by their fingertips
from the chiseled names
they had chosen at birth?