Combat killed all calm in him,
leaving gray faces and specters
of boys he killed, their splayed limbs.
With snare-drummed ears he hears
nightly SOS's that trigger fear.
This is the graze of bulleting war.
Discharged, he prays for a tumor—
light on the brain, a sheath
of ardor so graceful it clears
all horrors, singing him to sleep forever,
a compassionate abduction by death—
not ratatat repetitions of gore,
a truce with life, and what a departure,
no more memorial torture.
E.M. Darnell is a floor tech and tutor in Fremont NE, and has also been a phlebotomist, hotel supervisor, busboy, editorial assistant, farmhand, devout recluse, and incurable brooder— leading to near auto collisions. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa, and has published poems in The Lyric, Eclectic Muse, Skidrow Penthouse, Shot Glass Journal, The HyperTexts, Candelabrum, Quantum Leap, Aries, Ship of Fools, Open Minds Quarterly, The Fib Review, Verse-Virtual, and Blue Unicorn among others.