He was iron
wrought from tough love and Dickens’ porridge.
A face to inspire and lead armies
but he had no army, so he created one.
I remember his hands
they were huge, from hard work, with bratwursts for fingers.
I wanted my hands to look like his.
I feared him
but loved him because of tractor rides
and huge piles of sweet wild hay.
Only one held power over him.
She was dead now
and without her he started to die.
Cancer ate his brain
with lightning speed
and freed a young child with a goofy, stubbled, marked head.
The privates fed him with pewter spoons and
he said words that iron men do not say and left me speechless.

Steve Hall, Chicago, Class of 1999

Originally published in Vol. XV: 1999