Featured OPA Contest Winner: Tess Thiringer

Dear Any Soldier


I want you to know
That the sun still rises and falls
In its usual arc
Here as there
Wind blows through many-colored grass
And chases dust
Trees Blossom
I want you to know
That I pass no judgment
Small matters of birth and timing
Separate us
I do not know
Your blood and sweat
The labor of your salt-less tears
But here as there
Shadows grow short and long daily
Moon rises
Sun falls
The world does not wait


TessThiringerTess Thiringer: It amazes me how prescient writing can sometimes seem, tapping into pieces of ourselves that will later be realized. I wrote “Dear Any Soldier” nearly eight years ago before giving any serious consideration to joining the armed forces. At the time it was written in empathy of those who served in any conflict, both those who returned and most particularly, for those who did not. Now, after deploying and spending several years in military service reading it is a different experience for me. It is the voice of my previous self cautioning me of the things to come. I appreciate the words now more than I ever did when I wrote them.

Tess Thiringer is from Portland, Oregon. After graduating from Marylhurst University in 2009, she enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. She lives with her husband near Camp Pendleton, California where she works as a helicopter mechanic.

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