Post 49: Even Though They Do Not See

They do not see you dangling there,
Your gun glistening in the moonlight,
Your body suspended 18 feet in the air,
From the end of a rope.
It is your fourth trip up, using only your hands,
And your grip goes weak, threatening to slip.
They do not see you in the dead of the night,
Insufficiently clothed and curled up in a ball,
As protection from the cold, as you shiver,
And dream of better days.

They don’t see the pit that forms in your stomach,
When you are informed you must stay on base,
Two weekends out of every four,
To make more time for training.
And they don’t see the eyes of the girl
You told you would see this Friday,
When you tell her, yet again,
That the army has made other plans for your weekend.
They don’t see the pain on your face,
When a younger sibling remarks, albeit with harmless intent,
that you are missing her childhood.

They don’t see you on the long marches,
As you struggle through lack of sleep and lack of strength,
To keep your eyes open and your legs moving forward.
They don’t see you at four in the morning,
With only a T-shirt as protection from the whipping wind,
As you learn how to shoot in close quarters.
They don’t see you in the push-up position on your knuckles,
As rocks enter your skin,
As you’re taught what it means to be strong,
Even when it hurts…especially when it hurts.
They don’t see you as your vision grows dim from lack of oxygen,
As you are pitted against five soldiers in hand-to-hand combat training.
All this they do not see…

And yet, when our country is attacked,
It is you they will call on,
On two hours of sleep and with no food in your stomach,
They will call on you to defend them;
To defend their homes and to defend their children.
It is you they will turn to,
To ensure missiles don’t fall on their playgrounds and on their schools,
And that buses don’t blow up in their cities.
They will put their trust in you,
In the strength of your legs,
And in the accuracy of your gun,
And so you must be strong.
You must continue to march, and ignore your throbbing knees.
You must continue to carry, and ignore your aching back.
You must continue to run, even when it hurts to walk.
You must wake, and fight the urge to sleep.
You must train to be the warrior they expect you to be,
Even though they do not see.

4 Responses to “Post 49: Even Though They Do Not See”

  1. JACKI AMOZIG Says:

    Hi; I think one word which will change the concept of these lovely writing [they] TO our
    it is not they
    its our’
    our country no matter where you come from and it doesn’t matter if you going back this is our country. Our struggle, our children and our soldier, that is what the writer of these strong and lovely writing have to see himself.
    My son is about to join the Israeli Defense force, nothing less than a fighting unit, left Australia with all the comforts, language home friend I’m not going to add on, to do what his heart beg him to do’ is share for his country, although he doesn’t speak Hebrew never been in Israel before , thank you

  2. Debbie Feldman Says:

    So, yesterday we happened to be in the company of a Penn graduate from your year named Madelaine and of course we asked if she knew you, and, of course, she did. Her roommate was friendly with your group of friends.
    You are in our thoughts and prayers and we miss you. Your most recent writing particularly hit home this week after we just attended a lecture in NY (by an NYU professor no less- and to think we are paying a portion of his salary) where the words apartheid and Israel were once again so inappropriately linked… we voted with our feet and walked out of the lecture. When we sit here in our safe and secure surroundings, sometimes feeling battle weary from the verbal defense of Israel that we occasionally mount with both friends and colleagues (folks who should just know better), it gives us pause to realize that our nephew is quite literally physically enacting the ‘conversational games’ we ‘play’. Your words give us perspective and flush away any frustrations we may feel about our relatively easy contribution to the ‘defense’ of Israel.
    We also think about your parents and brother and sisters at these times and feel for them as well for what they are going through by having a son/sibling serving as you do. We continue to be proud of all of you and impressed with your perseverance. Corey, we cannot wait to see you and hope it will not be too long until we do.

    All our love, Aunt Debbie and Uncle David

  3. Vic Barth Says:

    Dearest Corey, Continue to stay strong and full of courage. We are truly proud of the man/soldier you have become. Stay safe and full of love. Aunt Rho & Uncle Vic

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