An old man stands silently along the shore.
His clothes are worn and musty, pulled closely around his body
Against the bitter, salty mist.
The mist, a scent that beckoned him across the billowing waves
To a land where tired gray eyes stare sadly now.
His mind turns back to a day
When the skeleton of the abandoned dock was alive with young men and women,
And parents who aged unnoticed as the minutes ticked away.
The air was thick with voices – crying, laughing,
The odd word from an anxious mother, wife
Who tried to hard to hold the tears inside and failed.
And soon the boat pulled away from the dock,
The faces blurred, the voices muffled
Until the salty mist carried them all away, and accompanied young boys to where…
…to where? To no man’s land where muffled sounds died with another man’s dreams.
The old man’s face grows darker as he closes his eyes.
Shadows begin to invade the creases and hollows that came with the years.
The old man shivers violently against the sights and sounds locked forever in his memory.
Never shared, never fully understood.
His country had called him to serve, to fight for freedom, for peace.
He recalled no glory then,
When soldiers in tattered uniforms and caked with mud, fell lifeless on the ground.
A lone gull cries and the old man turns from the water.
A gull’s shrill cry had accompanied him home to Canada
Where aching arms would cling to loved ones,
And ache to fill the arms of those left behind.
The dead still call to him behind the veil.
The old man shakes his head and wipes a tear from his face.
He slowly limps away down the beach until the evening mist envelopes him.
And he is forgotten.