I’ve been called “hero” but I simply followed orders
I did so voluntarily, for tradition and to serve our great nation
The “heroes” are my fallen brothers and sisters who will never return home
Not a day goes by that I don’t see their faces and hear their voices
Not a night goes by without the same
I scream the same question, over and over every day, yet no one can hear
Why did I get to come back? I’m nobody special
I see the pain in the faces of families of the fallen
They are sons, daughters, wives and husbands
They will never again get to see their loved ones, as I get to do every day
What makes me so special?
I want so bad to take their pain away, but there is nothing I can do
I can’t help but constantly remember, that could’ve been me
I used to love to sleep at night
But now I know that’s when the demons come
My wife, she loves me, yet cannot sleep with me at night
I wake startled in the middle of the night, it’s so dark and quiet and no one to say…”It’s all right”
I have to take a pill every night and hope, will I sleep well tonight?
I already know the answer…it’s going to be a fight.
I try to talk about it, but the words are hard to come by
I push the ones who love me away and think I’m protecting them
All the while screaming for their loving embrace
This thing I have, it strains my marriage
It threatens to take what little I have
I want to scream “Please help me!”
But I don’t know how to do that
I have been laughed at for having this, even by those I thought I could trust
When people ask and I tell them I’m a disabled veteran, I see their eyes gaze up and down
I wonder what they are thinking, so then I explain it yet again
Not all wounds are visible; this one is hardest to treat
I see my counselors and talk to other vets, those who will understand
I know I will have this for the rest of my life
And so I cope with it, morning, noon and night.

~William Perkins