The Photograph
Author: Shiloh


I couldn't help myself,-
couldn't take my eyes off her.
She was a very pretty girl,
blond hair falling softly over her shoulders,
blue-green eyes, beautiful smile...
about sixteen, and very much a young woman.
She was having her picture taken with her father.

Her mother stood with the camera,
telling her daughter to move back a bit more,
focusing the lens,
then she said,
"All right now, hold Daddy."

The pretty girl's smile grew a bit tighter,
her manner turned a bit more sober,
as she turned to be sure where her dad was.
Trembling slightly, she slowly raised her hand,
her index finger extended,
and touched her father's name
where it was engraved in The Wall.
(It was the last picture she would have
of her and her dad together.
The only other one she had
was taken when she was eighteen months old.
He was holding her, one last time,
just before he left for Vietnam.
He was a Navy pilot,
and he had been shot down over Hanoi.
That's all she knew about him.)

After her mother took the picture
the girl turned her face to The Wall,
cradled her head in her arms against it,
and she cried... quietly,
alone with her thoughts.
Her tears flowed down her grown-up, little-girl cheeks,
onto the polished stone of The Wall,
and onto the walk at the base;
the purest of offerings
for the memory of the father she never knew.

She was sixteen,
and in most ways a grown woman,
but at that moment she was the little girl
who needed, so desperately,
to be held and comforted in the arms of her daddy.
She'd grown up needing him.
and she would always need him.
And she would never,
be held by him again.

------- Author's Notes -------

(...Major Mike O'Donnell became
an MIA on 24 March 1970)


Comments on this poem/writing:

Leah06 ( -- Wednesday, April 23 2003, 02:20 pm


this was awsome! I didnt grow up with my fauther either,and i still cry! Awsome
Mike Rudolph ( -- Sunday, May 23 2010, 01:23 am


Wow Hank what great writing. I can just feel the pain of that little girl. And hugging that wall and saying good bye. Brought me to tears.
Bipedalguy ( -- Sunday, May 30 2010, 01:09 pm


You did a fine job on this story. I'm in tears at the keyboard. I get this way whenever I think of the Viet Nam war, but seldom to this degree.
This is a great write.
shiloh ( -- Monday, May 31 2010, 05:14 pm

peace, my friend...

that is my wish, my hope, my dream... peace.
Name:                                           Remember Me

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