Sleet pelts the brown lawn.
A Marine stands astounded
in his motherís door, his breath
a white swirl against dark air.
This evening is already becoming
indistinguishable from the next.
Take how precise the Marineís
memory of one of the hundreds
of IEDs heís dismantled is,
numbers being another way
they make you stand by
to stand by. Some images
donít keep the imaginer in mind.
Now heís home, his duty done.
Now his empty pockets scratch
his chalky thighs. We can call him
a casualty only if we choose to
live our lives casually. A loved
one returning from war is the fact
of their survival following.
If he happens to show anger
sometimes, do me a favor:
notice his mother, how strong
she is without pretending
anything will be fine. Truth is
some things get said, some donít.
Those desert nights were brutal.
The sleet plumpening behind him now
is a slew of parachutes, plummeting.
He and his mother peer out at it,
stricken. They hold each other up.
Moonlight strikes the room.
Kevin Stoy's poems have appeared in 42opus, Triplopia, Eucalyptus, Stirring, and the SNReview. He holds a BA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from George Mason University, where he is also currently employed by the Center for Global Education.(firstname.lastname@example.org)