Bear, would you like to see my purple heart?
Terrified, I followed Uncle Eddie up the stairs,
expecting to see—God knows, what hideous thing,
what awful hidden wound from the Great War.
He led me back into his dark bedroom—
shuttered, it had the feeling of a tomb,
where by his dresser, crouching on the floor,
he knelt and sliding out the bottom drawer
in silence, lifted out a small sealed box,
the way a priest removes the sacrament at Mass;
then opening the clasp for me to see,
too reverent for me to touch or anyone,
I saw with my child’s terror overcome
inside: the ribboned face of Washington.