Ashley was four years old
The summer I went to war.
She was an architect,
Of grand sand castles.
Detail and proportion
Were her expertise.
The first morning her mother
Took her to the ocean’s edge,
Ashley, armed with bucket
And butter knife performed magic
Creating a castle built
For a prince and princess.
After dinner, her grandfather
Escorted her on a walk to the beach.
She pulled his arm hurrying him
Toward her creation. She found
The spot where her castle
Once stood. Little was left,
Only a wet round mound of sand.
“Why, Grandpa? Why?”
He pulled her close and hugged her.
What good was explaining
Wind and tides, sun and moon,
The eternal turning of the spheres,
But he tried.
She protested, “It’s not fair.”
He replied, “It’s not trying to be fair.
It’s just the way it is.” He paused.
“You can build it again tomorrow.”
She did. And again the tide took
Her castle. All summer long
She never stopped building.
I returned home. I had survived
My year at war. I had lost buddies,
Buddies had lost arms and legs.
I had abandoned all hope of normal.
I watched as Ashley spent her
Summer building castles.
She never said it, but
She showed me:
Don’t let the
She rebuilt my faith.