Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Almost 22

by James Deitz


She was a ghost
orchid and I was
her sphinx moth.
A symbiotic connection
but she wasn’t a flower.
She was a soldier.
In the weight room,
she yells at a guy for
lurking near squat press.
Her dominating smirk
when she saw someone
staring at her breasts
pressing through battle
dress uniform. Not your
typical chair force
princess or desert
queen when we deployed
to Prince Sultan Air Base.
She was enough.

She was almost 22.
I almost became 22.
Thirteen years later
she’s still a part of me.
I still carry her, while
watching Revenant,
wondering her thoughts.
Sometimes she sits next
to me.  Sometimes I change
seats because I’m tired
of carrying her.   My trauma
changes seats while
watching too.  22 veterans
commit suicide every day.
We became one.
She fell.  We united
on April 13, 2003,
when her flesh embedded
my skin.  Just another birth
mark.  When she scars
me again.  When fragmented
bones cut my right shoulder.
Alicia’s still enough when I
don’t pull the trigger again.