July 12, 2019
Men of War
By Kathryn Staublin
Returning home to lives worth living,
to the quiet of the dust settling,
in the comfort of a dream
that had so long escaped them
But years fringe like thread
and ash in their mouths,
clogging the sweet taste of freedom
and clouding the senses in memories past.
Daily lives, daily jobs, everything
just a peeled layer away
from the nightmare, a shield
protecting them from sight,
but not from mind.
They cannot pretend, or else
they cannot bring themselves to do it—
old habits, like pennies in a jar,
reminding them one by one
of the fallen, the city alarms for smoke
and fire bring back the smolder
and bang of gunfire, explosions
in the distance curling with
flame, hate, and mountains of sand.
They blink and see the sweating glass
clutched in strained, displaced fingers
and remind themselves that
their bodies, at least, are home—even if
their minds are still at war.
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