My grandfather was a doughboy, then a paratrooper. He marched on Washington after one of the wars. I have a picture, his pants stuffed in his boots, a smokey bear hat slid to his bushy brows. He is holding something. I cannot remember his voice. I cannot remember him speaking. He had a chair by the door. The chair vibrated. His were the only hands the dog wouldnt nuzzle. He had emphysema from the mustard gas and he only ate scrapple: eggs and spam. It was the only thing he could taste. I hung up his picture. I thought him a hero. My grandmother did not grieve him when he died. She shuffled around the house in her slippers, and then another man died, another soldier. I saw the cut out obituary on my grandmothers kitchen table. She took to wearing that mans dog-tags around her neck, old tags, on a leather strap, a ship engraved on one side of the thick metal and Edward on the other. I watched when my grandmother stuck a picture of herself in an envelope along with the obituary, no letter, no note. I took her to the post office to mail it to his widow.
Art by artist unknown