Rio's Memorial Day

I am the war dead
buried alive
in an American prison.

Entombed for over 30 years
behind bars made of lies
that I was used to killing people

There was no outrage
from men claiming to be brothers
nor rescue missions launched.

No one asked for rank or serial number
and no bright lights of interrogation,
being a veteran was guilt enough.

Time passed in a vacuum
and eyes rolled up in heads
when I proclaimed my innocence.

Books and pen were my refuge
and years of silent sitting meditation
as my family all died away.

Every day is Memorial Day
and on TV flags fly by
while some men salute and some men cry.

In the end no one will know
how this Marine lived and died
in an American prison, older, but buried alive.

Joe Labriola, Memorial Day, 2004