The Only One: A Poem Dedicated to Homeless Veterans

Am I the only one who notices your eyes

Cracked open by the war?

Young against the pain

Spilled out with the grief

Dried up in the coming home

Dropped to the ground

And forgotten by everyone—but me.

Your eyes are green.

Am I the only one who notices your hands

Chilled with the homeless nights,

Blistered from the trigger,

Calloused in those lifetime years,

Shaking with your hunger,

Balled into your pockets,

And empty without a friend’s hand?

You don’t have a wedding band.

Am I the only one who notices your jaw

Clenched without a smile?

Shadowed by the poverty

Scarred where battle broke it

Knotted with locked tears

Trembling with misplaced adrenaline

And silent with burning stories no one would give time to.

But I would spend my life listening to you.

Even if I am the only one who sees,

I’m here, and I won’t ever leave.

Even if I am the only one who ever stops to shake your hand,

I’ll be your home and your relief.

Even if I am the only one who listens,

I could never forget all that you gave for me.

By Clare Therese

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