The Truth Behind The Mirror

 A poem by veteran Rob Caudill

As I stood in front of the mirror for the first time as a man, I knew my dream had been fulfilled.

Adjusting each buckle to its spot making sure the shine was perfect.

Checking the wings of my
Eagle, Globe, and Anchors, ensuring they were level to the ground.

Each medal pinned upon my chest was worn with pride.

Once they began to remind me of how they were earned, through sweat, blood, and tears

they began to lose their luster.

Now, I stand in front of the mirror rushing to take off the uniform I was so eager to adorn.

I stumble to bed knowing the fate that waits

When the conditions are correct, I get a ticket to my past.

Oct 27th, 2006 is the day I am affixed to.

I was not kicking in doors or riding in a convoy.

I was one of the Marines that would start my day as someone clings to life.

As the ringing of the casualty evacuation bell echoed through the flight line,

I raced to my position to soar through the sky.

In that pure moment of fear, time is nowhere near.

Once time stands still so will the sound.

Six Marines placed a fallen brother at my feet,

My task was simple and the burden is great.

I accomplished what I was trained for, the guilt I had failed consumed me.

I awakened from a chaotic slumber, standing in front of the mirror weeping into my blood covered hands.

I once was brave and ran into harm’s way,

now I cower and cry when I close my eyes.

The nights are long and many years have passed with many more to come.

My mind begins to settle down bringing me back to the here and now.

Allowing me to look death in the eyes one more night,

as I smile remind him this Marine is not going down without a fight.

Copyright Rob Caudill 2016. All Rights Reserved.