Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

My mama. Birthed

six babies —

five of us would survive.

My mama. Grieved

the loss —

of her first-born son.

My mama. Brought

Joy —

into the world.

My mama. Woke

before the sun —

only to find the quiet.

My mama. Wrote

endless prayers —

in journals we never read.

My mama. Sang

softly and sweetly —

tunes carried throughout our house.

My mama. Crocheted

delicate lace —

angels to avoid idle hands.

My mama. Filled

the air —

with eucalyptus and spicy perfume.

My mama. Dazzled

on Friday nights —

with shimmering beauty and grace.

My mama…

A person in a red rain jacket against a grey sky stands on jagged rocks spanning across water.
Photo by kyler trautner on Unsplash

Falling in love fiercely

Falling with fear

Fear of loss

Fear of the unknown

Unknown struggles abound

Unknown hurts sprout up

Up from deep depths

Up from the ashes

Ashes of dead dreams

Ashes of old flames

Flames of passion dampen in time

Flames of desire still flicker

Flicker like a candle unattended

Flicker until a light no more

More hurts carved and carried

More chinks in the armor

Armor protects and deflects

Armor builds a wall of defense

Defense is fortification

Defense isn’t fortitude

Fortitude of courage in pain

Fortitude is strength in adversity

Adversity is no excuse


Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash

Warriors’ hearts, hardened for battle, reserve expectation the mind wages war within for years to come. I held no such belief. There were no boots laced up, nor goodbyes said, duffle bag in hand.

Standing before family and friends, I dressed in my finest. I professed the best of intentions — love, loyalty, and devotion, and served it up buffet-style with plates packed full of pasta and haphazardly cut slices of cake.

A dream turned vivid nightmare haunts me still.

The profound experience of war is worth sharing — stories of life and death. Waiting with bated breath, harrowing tales…

Katie Joy Cochran

Maverick • Rambler • Veteran • Underdog Champion • Boldly Unbroken

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