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Fosters Fight

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A lamp sits on the table
With a dulling light in its chest
Giving all the weary help it can.
Beneath it are some letters
Written a while ago
But only now does the man,who owns the lamp, understand.

And now-a-days, he's hard of hearing
He wears sweaters all year round
And lives alone.
He's sitting in front of the table,
The one the lamp is sitting on,
He hasn't been up this late
In so long.

The letters are from his brother,
Hooper Gearing was his name,
He's much older than Foster
But not in some ways.
The letters are from back when
Foster could hear well
And he could read without his glasses
That he now wears all the time
Like an extension of his body
Like his right arm with the scar
From when Hooper and he
Climbed too high in a tree
And fell
That was back when he could hear well.

His letters were sent to him
When he was away.
Foster lived and died for them to come:
He lived to know his brother
Was also still living.
But he died to know his brother
Was living somewhere else.

His letters told of new people,
New place,
And new guns.
People he watched die.
Places he survived.
Guns he held on to
Like an extension of his body,
Like his right arm.

At the end of every letter,
He would tell him
To keep on living, stop his dying
Fall in love, and start realizing
That sometimes the fight is worth more
Than the victory prize

The last letter on the table
The one the lamp sits on
Wasn't written by him
But by a stranger and a typewriter.
Foster reads it now,
Not like he did the first time.
The first time he was angry.
The first time he sat on Hooper's bed,
Next to his,
And screamed into the pillow
Asking God why
Asking what prize
Hooper gave up for this fight
And through all the anger
He cried.

But now he understands
Each of his letters
Were written from a dying man
Caught in a fight
He knew could stop him from coming home.
That is why
At the end of every letter
He reminded his younger brother
The most important things He'd realized
While standing on the front lines.

Now he is a dying man
Reading letters beneath the lamp
Finally beginning to understand
A brother older than him in most ways
He may have died at 21
But he's teaching a man who's 94.
At his table
A dulling heart in his chest
Giving all the help it can
In his fight.




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