Conversation With a Ghost
CONVERSATION WITH A GHOST
By Brenda Braene
I sit in the Alamo courtyard.
Tourists pass, laughing, talking, taking pictures.
Little boys pretend to be James Bowie and Davy Crockett.
Little girls pretend to know better.
The courtyard clears.
There is a breeze.
A bird calls repetitively behind me.
I feel the blood in the stones.
I hear the tears in the breeze.
I feel the pain absorbed by the trees.
I look up.
He is crossing the flagstones in his home sewn uniform.
Slowly, as though it hurts to walk
Although his feet do not touch the ground.
He stops, a few feet away
And turns to look at me.
I see the water fountain and the far wall through him.
He looks into my eyes.
I look into his.
His eyes are dark and deep.
I am not afraid.
He is trapped here.
He wants comfort, needs release.
He needs to know why he had to die.
Why was the bloodshed necessary?
Why did he have to be brave?
Why didn't he follow Moses Rose over the wall?
He didn't have a woman waiting for him
And now he never would.
He dreamed of her often.
Not of how she looked.
But that she would love him. Always.
And now she would never exist
Because he no longer existed.
Why did he have to die?
Why did he have to feel the bullet rip his skin?
See the soldier above him swing the club,
Feel the blows from the beating as the blood drained out?
I want to tell him it was for "God and Country"
(Or, in this case, God and Texas)
But the words stick in my throat.
I do not believe God wants a good man to die like that,
As an example.
We need good men.
And I do not believe God punishes someone who
is less than perfect under Man's idea of God's perfection
With a death like that.
I can only surmise
That God was busy elsewhere
And that Free Will took a turn for the worse.
One should not have to die for one's country.
That, too, is a false concept created by men
To devise meaning for violence
Where there is none.
Man is best at destroying himself and others.
Billions of people have died throughout history
For no good reason.
It is not survival of the fittest.
It is survival of the meanest.
I reach out my hand.
He takes it.
His hand is cool and dry.
If I close my fingers too tightly
They meet through his.
I want to comfort the ghost.
I want to release him,
Send him on his way.
But I can't.
So I sit there in the courtyard, holding his hand
As the ants bite me.
And I weep with him
While train whistles wail in the distance
Brenda Braene is a frequent contributor to Circadian Poems. Her blog is Poet Meets Muse. She and her sisters love Jane Austen; they plan to resume “The Austen Conversations” on their blog, The Three Braenes, this fall.