I dream of my father today, the Battle of the Bulge,
begun on this date in 1944, the fiercest European Theater
engagement of the war with the largest cast of dead soldiers.
My father escaped that role, though, surviving with no more
than severe frostbite and nightmares of slaughtered friends
blown apart by bombs and ripped raw to bloody gore,
rendered unrecognizable by bullets bursting their faces.
Jolting awake at night, my father wonders if those ghosts
congratulate him on living through the battle, the war,
and will they forgive him for surviving only to forever replay
the grief over their deaths that tears at his second chance.