by Tony Daly

on US soil in a foreign land
we enter sterile rooms
toting quilts from a ladies’
auxiliary back home—merged
patches of sacrificed memories

from a beloved blanket
or an old letterman jacket
from an unworn onesie
or sweatshirt of a lost spouse

so a grieved warrior
can feel support and love
from those who care
to show they care
and those who gave
to feel they did their part

the quilts lay at the
feet of beds, at the
feet of gurneys, at the
feet of struggling existence

their seams more unifying than
memories in minds of soldiers
whose feet they were made to warm
his mind, her mind, their minds
may never fully return from
patchwork images and smells
of past, present, future
and never was—fluttering
behind unfocused eyes

we can only feel like we did
a small part, hoping the memories
of others we delivered will provide
a needle point on which the
warriors can begin to stitch
together their own memories
from lives that war ripped apart