The Heart on My Sleeve

Standing there at attention
In the blinding sun
Sweat dripping down my back
Between my breasts
Slightly shifting from side to side
Inaudible sigh,
Come on I thought
But when it was my turn
And he passed by
I shook his hand
Looked him in the eye
Thank you Sergeant Major
Took the combat patch
And coin
Held them tight in my sweaty hand
Worried it would all slip through my fingers
The coin burning into my palm
Presented for excellence
Whatever that meant
That I was halfway done
That I hadn’t died
That I was almost gone
Put them both at the bottom of a duffel
Forgot about them
Until now
The coin I keep in a little tin box
And the patch,
I wear it on my sleeve


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