Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

The Blank Stare

Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

The Blank Stare

Article excerpt

His buddies said it was suicide to charge up that hill and from the look of his eyes in the old photograph he knew, he already knew; the blank stare, the thousand yard stare, the stare of the spooked kid who goes up the hill, murders a yellow-skinned boy at the top of the hill and then goes home and works the day shift, sometimes doubles up on the night shift, starts a family, sometimes drinks himself to sleep, sometimes pretends its no big deal, sometimes cries himself to sleep, but never talks about it, never lets anyone in, never lets anyone know because jesus fucking christ, he screams, Arlington is already full of heroes. What does that mean, I say, I don't know what that means and he looks at me and says no, how would you know, you don't know nothing and walks out. But that was then, a long time ago, a time when we were family; it's different now-now I need a copy of the certificate to prove he's dead because mom wants a copy of it and these days it's just easier to do what she wants and so here is the sullen clerk with the cheap tie and bad breath telling me how old, you forgot to put how old and he points to the empty box on the form and smiles, smugly, because he's right and I'm wrong and so I write fifty-two and the next box says death, cause of death, and so I write rope, one end secured around ceiling beam, one end secured around neck and the clerk reads it and the clerk stops and stares and says nothing until finally he whispers me too, my dad too, and I don't know what to say so I look down and nod and smile a stupid smile because what else can we do when our hero dads hang themselves. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.