As You Were Cover

Once Again to Be a Little Boy

By Dillion Naslund

Dog faced are we Soldiers
Only a cross section of the meek masses forced by necessity
     to do the extraordinary
All among us the weak and the hopeless, yet driven to
     heights of greatness by this sense of duty
For we all are proud to have suffered this burden
     together, alone
It’s a priceless honor you can’t get without being selfless
It will never be found priced together amongst low
     budget electronics or twenty-one flavors of ice cream
This gift cannot by paradoxical coincidence be bought
Yet we few pay such a heavy price in hopes that our
     efforts might keep children, now yet just little boys,
     from having to decide their innocence and lust for life
     may best be sacrificed
If only for the hopes that down the road soon, the deserving
     youth might actually get the opportunity to grow up
     young, happy, and sparkling with the glint of a million
     possibilities
Their dotted eyes found only in those allowed to dream
     without consequence
To sleep one night without waking in a cold sweat…
     if only for one night to once again be a little boy…

Editor’s Note: This poem is published posthumously at the request of Lisa and Jeff Naslund, the author’s parents, to raise awareness about the epidemic of veteran suicides. Dillon Naslund took his own life on December 10, 2012.