Mental Health Poetry

Veteran’s Day

Most days are the same with slight variations — As they should be in a small sleepy suburb. Customers come and go in a hurry, all with their lives as I stay in the store working until Read More

sober veterans

Most days are the same with slight variations—

As they should be in a small sleepy suburb.

Customers come and go in a hurry, all with their

lives as I stay in the store working until

coffee shopThe clock allows me to leave.

I have my own concerns, dreams, feelings, and moments,

A passerby to them as they are to me.

There are some customers who come into the store every day

to get coffee, a snack, or breakfast. A paper maybe, or something to smoke.

Some of them I know, learn their orders, learn small fragments

Of their lives as they come into contact with me.

Working people: parents, teachers, students, construction workers,

Bankers, office workers, coaches, police, farmers, sleepers

Dreamers, people.

What significance am I? A Clerk? A server?

There’s one man, short middle aged, balding with glasses.

Has a hardy laugh, deep voice, and infectious smile.

Every morning he asks for a turkey, bacon and ranch sandwich,

Or some mornings orders three hash browns, or two—variations slight. And Coffee.

We share no deep conversation, a happy customer and willing server.

But today, a normal day. Slightly the same with variation.

I’m brewing coffee, feeling cold and uncaring, wanting to leave

Waiting for the clock to hurry up. I hear my name, and see the man

“I want to thank you” he says.

“Thank you for always giving me good service and helping me. I won’t be

Coming in much anymore. On Monday I was laid off.

US flagThe only veteran working there. Laid off on Veteran’s day.”

I stood there dumb with sympathy.

“I’m sorry.” I said after trying to find words, but there were none.

I tried to offer him free coffee, or a free sandwich.

He politely declined, got money from the ATM and left the store.

Somebody tell me the words to say.

I pray for this man who’s name I regrettably don’t know.

When a man’s life is ruined in a day,

Dear God! What do you say?

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