He was a jet Fighter Pilot
when I met him –
straight out of “Top Gun”.
He called himself a Trained Killer,
his buddies called him Lurch.
He wore a single zippered flight suit,
a brown leather Bomber jacket, and
he announced, “I am the best -
made of blue twisted steel sprinkled
generously with sex,”
He was eager to fly that jet,
fire the burners and light up the air,
soar above mountains shrouded in smoke
in the name of that freedom
he had been trained to defend.
He led his men into
dog fights, playing war games in the big sky.
When they were done,
they’d swagger to the bar
where they drank Stingers after Happy Hour.
I was his other love,
the Navy Wife with the “hardest job”,
and the mother of our babies.
I waited by the clock counting minutes that dragged
for my Hero to return
to sunlit days and happy nights.
Together, my Hero and I
survived the wars of the sky -
no black car or Chaplain came to my door.
Finally the twenty years of glory,
and tunnels of hours
were replaced with a final, “Welcome home!”
We are old now, but not too old
to understand a modern world’s chaos –
to see the strands of Freedom spliced and burned.
I watch to see if my warrior
trembles at the threats to our land,
wondering if he worries about
the future of our grandchildren.
The days of Happy Hour long over,
he sits in his recliner now,
a beer in one hand, the remote in the other.
He clicks on TV and with a flash
the enemy crashes in the room.
I shudder at the scene,
thanking God my husband is at home with me.
Drawing near to his body
that lures me still
I whisper, “What can we do?”
His steel blue eyes, hooded by thick grey brows
never flinch their iced focus.
“Kill the bastards,” my Hero growls,
swigs down his beer, and turns on the ball game.