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Wednesday, February 03, 2016


by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

Image source: via flickr

then what would you have me say
to this Veteran of Foreign Wars?

Retired military.  He’s living PTSD.
Attends therapy weekly.

Day by day -
dust covered cobwebbed dreams

spin into hellish-waking nightmares
filament by filament

each strand a broken memory.
War’s understated motto: Kill or Be Killed.

Served 26 years, since he was 19.
Straight out of high school

entered camel humped wars
of dirty sand and intense heat.

While in Iraq wandered
into their market place

into the minotaur’s “staged” rage.
An Iraqi (barely able to speak English)

said, “Chop Chop! Come on – Chop Chop!”
Communal eyes followed

a buff-built man dressed as evil genie.
A downward swinging wave –

one-cleaved sparkling and sharp cut.
A hooded head, beheaded.

As if lawlessness ended
with a thud.

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, a native Philadelphian, is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Images of Being (Stone Garden Publishing, 2011), Lights Battered Edge (Anaphora Literary Press 2015), and Night Sweat (Red Dashboard Press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in a number of on line and print publications. Awarded a grant in poetry from the AEV Foundation in 2013; served as Poet in Residence at Ryerss Museum and Library and as Poetry Editor of the Fox Chase Review. On Youtube at