black granite - a found poem

Dear visitor,


The wall is about stories

a larger story still under revision

That story is complicated

The little ones are told in the letters and objects left behind

hundreds of thousands of pieces of grief in the collection

Too many letters to write


You have to get close to read it.

The shiny black granite reflects you as you look at it.

The carved surface invites you to touch it;

when you do, a ghostly hand meets yours


The memorial doesn’t leave you alone.

It pulls you in.

It encourages you to dredge up long-buried feelings

to experience them right there, in semi-public, alongside other mourners


You can physically touch a memory.

You can put your hand on a name

And it’s 6:30 am, July 23, 1970.

I can smell it, hear it, feel it —

my gun, the cordite, the madness of a firefight


How the hell did I survive this?


Here in the sacred place

you can talk to the person and complete a relationship that was cut short


A young woman tells her father he would have been the best daddy in the world.

A soldier can’t forgive himself for not realizing how badly his buddy was hurt.

A 37-year-old woman writes to her lover, who’s still 21


It’s like the person’s spirit is on there.

And the story gets told.

 Yours truly, a name not mourned on the wall

This poem is about: 
My country
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741