Prisoner of war at home
Death has sucked on him and spit him out
from beyond dream almost to forever,
but some insistence yanked him back
back into horror and broken teeth.
Make my heart beat faster, make it catch up!l
Pressing his chest, he massages,
life is running out ahead dragging
him a frayed rope-end of leash,
he waits out the long slow stretch of time.
Now at home, still those seven years succeed
In breaking him (their goal all along),
they haunt his effort to rebuild, and still
derail his children’s futures.
Why, still, do I have to live in this body bag of flesh
the only thing they left me ....
Amnesty’s official records, lists of documented facts,
hours of interviews - he spoke until his voice
broke in his heart - still it changed nothing,
disturbing secrets drown his voice in silence.
Why can I only live in the debris of broken ribs,
only pretend anything but remembering
the stink of my body on that cell floor,
remember death’s rancid taste in my saliva?
With each military boot blow to his ribs, each
metal rod’s smash on his back, hate
broke him into pieces that rattle
inaudibly with even his tiniest step.
(continue with stanza break)
Running his hands over the hair on his legs
he makes it into smooth, minute lines
remembering the tiny hairline cracks
on walls of the cell, all these years later.
Too weak to put pressure where
he felt the leak of warm blood,
he moves just outside himself again
where it is safe and blank.
Tonight he lies on his bed
in the empty echo of his homemade
cell, watching headlights
arc across the walls of his room.
There must be some reason
why I should want to be alive
there must be some reason,
there must be some…
Sharon Lopez Mooney, Prisoner of war at home, Kennings Literary Journal, 13th edition, ed. Riley DeLong, Hanover, IN, June USA 2022