the walking wounded

Death hung from the ceiling
well-oiled, well-loved rifles,
suspended from loops of string.

(They seemed so benign,
every time I went into
the basement shop.)

Like a stint in Korea during the war,
never talked about, just hanging there,
calling to me.

The dead buddies, the blood, the bombs,
the wound that saved my dad.

(He never talked about it, or the women before Mom.
Left in the dark about both love and loss.)

Japan, he taught the Marines to shoot straight.

Brought back an ivory chess set
and dark memories.

Men invented war.
Because they hate themselves so much.

Poetry by Anne Westlund
Read 712 times
Written on 2019-01-18 at 05:49

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Such a strong poem. Effective. Thank you for posting it. The power of unadorned, direct statement, and even understatement. The paternal silences. Well handled throughout the poem.