War and History Poetry posted May 18, 2016 Chapters:  ...5 6 -7- 8... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
the insanity of war continues

A chapter in the book Euthanasia Betty: An Anthology

The Color of Leftovers

by johnwilson

John Burrows cries dismal tears inflamed by a
tortuous twisting guilt. His stint in Iraq had not
been righteous--only an iron jaw
filled with senseless murders.
His eyes capture a darkness that
his conscience can't release---
rage that even a peaceful facsimile
of death can't combat;
a trade of complicity for innocence.

I recognize these waves crashing in his head--
flashbacks fed by happenstance; I bear
the hopelessness that only a mother can carry.

Today I join him warily on his bed,
made of crumpled damp sheets.
How do I stop this shaking, hold him safely against me,
hide his fears too huge to quiet?
How can he still smell like the child
I once held with such optimism?

"She was inert, her body covered in
the boy's shattered remains.
Sergeant told me to lift her!"

John folds himself up like an adjustable car seat.
Hyena screams pierce my skin.

"She was so stiff I thought I'd break her.
She twisted at my touch like a serpent--spit in my face.
Sergeant translated words I will never forget:
'I leave blood beads in your hands for killing my son.'"

Leftovers of our remaining grief.


Earned A Seal Of Quality

This poem is a tribute to a man I met online who was attempting recovery from PTSD. His therapist suggested writing in a journal but he found poetry to be a more effective release. He wrote a piece about finding a dead soldier covered by a woman who appeared dead amid all the surrounding chaos. Of all the horrors he must have witnessed, this scene was the one on replay.
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