Osbaldo Orozco died a year ago

by Glenn Currier

One year ago today
in a darkening array
of casualties of war
Baldo gave a little more.

Reyes traced her infant's shape
with fingers stained by picking grapes
in the fields on sweltering days
with her love and her husband Jorge.

When her sorrow again appears
she wipes away her tears
and pulls up from deep inside
golden kernels of love and pride.

Something his parents gave
must have made him so brave
on that April day near Tikrit
in the Bradley's oily iron heat.

Who made this American brown bear?
Coaches, Dad's and teammates' care
or thought of wife, nieces and cat
that lifted him up for combat?

Animal gente, gentle animal, they said.
Shouting and spurring ahead
of the rest of the guys
to no one's big surprise.

Baldo Orozco was new to me
before the number of casualties
listed in the morning news
that I almost quickly excused.

Ten thousand civilians dead
near nine hundred soldiers bled
their youth into the sand
as we make our national stand.

I see the numbers with such ease
but not the parents on their knees
or the broken, injured or blind
or their children left behind.

It was a whole year ago
that we lost Osbaldo Orozco—
one man who was good and bold—
I salute you and your bright soul!


Author's Note: The numbers of dead too easily escape my notice. I had to humanize this war to keep my own humanity.

Posted on 04/25/2004
Copyright © 2023 Glenn Currier

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Anne Engelen on 04/25/04 at 05:16 PM

I'm glad you wrote this!

Posted by Michele Schottelkorb on 04/25/04 at 05:45 PM

glenn, this is a most powerful piece... you delve into the sheer essence of the human being... portraying the actual person, the deep recesses of the soul... bless you and thank you for the reminder... may we never, EVER, forget... blessings...

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 04/26/04 at 02:27 AM

In view of recent events...and casualties in Iraq, certainly a poem for our times Richard.

Posted by Ashok Sharda on 04/27/04 at 05:36 PM

This is very sensitive of you. personalizing a general tragedy is what makes it so humane .

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