Home From The War
it was the war they said
not the scent from the lilac bush.
it was the smell of piss on fatigues he
was remembering when
he didn’t answer right away.
“supper’s on” his mother said.
fried chicken and biscuits and
blood oozing like red gravy on
it was the taste of it they told us,
that lingers like stale bread and
hangs on your breath.
and so it’s best to pretend
not to notice they told us.
when he stares at what isn’t there,
when he is
frightened by what
only he can see.
it’s best to just keep passing the peas.
Gil Arzola, who lives in Valparaiso, Indiana, is married with two daughters and a sometimes author. Gil has published in Whetstone, Across The Board and Scholastic Coach and is at work on a book of poetry and a book of essays.