Names on A Wall- A reflection after visiting the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.

I stand at the start of a wall
it stretches out before me,
it turns and curves,
bends and swerves,
like an undecided snake, trying to find its way.

I walk over the brick
worn down by the soles of others who have trod before.

Names on a wall.

All I can see are names.

Rows and rows and rows

of names.

I stop.

And turn to face the granite,
my hand outstretched,
until I touch the cool, smooth stone,
I feel the grooves and sharp angles,
where the granite
was chipped away
to make a name.

Slowly, I trace each letter with my forefinger
when I am done,
I begin to walk away.

I am stopped,
by the sight
of my own face
reflected like a mirror in the stone,

standing

with the names

for an instant,

I am among the fallen.

I begin to think
not of the names
but of this one name
and Mr. and Mrs. Someone
who gave this name away
all those years ago.