The weather has set a suitable tone
for this afternoon trip to Omaha Beach
three quarters of a century after
boats emptied their cargo of boys
onto the rocky shore. A steady rain and brisk
October wind pursues our touring group.
We make our way along the shell-pocked paths
and injured bunkers back to the visitors’
center and heated bus. We stop
along the road, photograph monuments
to those who died, to those who lived.
Despite the weather, the Channel
lies placid and does not argue with the sky
or sand. I walk to water’s edge,
bend to collect a few small stones.
Vacation homes dot the roadside. Fruit trees
bow with apples, cows kneel in pastures,
on and on for miles where soldiers slogged
through mud. We ride uphill to the cemetery.
White marble crosses, white marble stars extend
beyond where I can see. Some hold names,
some the inscription, Known but to God.
On each white star I pass I place one small
sea stone, a symbol of my faith. A sole bugler
sounds Taps as he does each afternoon,
and we stop and we stand in silence.
About the Author
From Montclair, N.J, Jessica de Koninck is the author of Cutting Room and Repairs. Her poems have been featured on the Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily. She holds an M.F.A. from Stonecoast, B.A. from Brandeis and J.D. from B.U. Jessica co-edits ALTE. For more: www.jessicadekoninck.com.