War bride

wedding ringsAnd did he sweep you
off your feet,
he of the dashing
Air Force uniform
and cloven chin?

Did you see in his face
your unborn children –
or a one-way ticket
out of there?

Did you search your mirror, breathless,
for shining eyes, flushed cheeks,
signs to prove this must be, must be love?

And as you boarded that war-time train for far away,
tossing your blithe bouquet to your best friend,
did you stop to wonder what was being traded
for the promise of a new and different life?

What hopes,
what dreams
were finally packed away
with the dainty shoes
and silken wedding dress –

moth-ball’d and laid to rest
like old photographs
in a silent cardboard box
tied with a velvet ribbon
in the back of your closet?