Who thinks
Of those who wait in lonely homes
For their men to return ?

At least a man
Has the satisfaction of doing, of comradeship.
His woman must stand alone
Dreading the unexpected knock which brings
A uniform who gently asks her name
Before breaking the news of his death
Or worse.

And even if
He has not been hit
She still must answer the children's fears
Calm their nighttime screams
While fighting to control her own.
Find tasks to fill the empty hours
Never look at the empty chair.
Count off the days on a calendar
Bolstered only by his forces mail.
Until the day comes
When she picks up a smelly stranger
At the drill hall
And lives with his moods
While he comes to life again.
Until the next time.

Email : chaslotter@pixie.co.za