Skip to main content

Steven Croft

Day One

After the roller-coaster dive out of the sky

I remember that step off the C-130 ramp, jogging

under generator lights, with the staccato of gunfire going

like a movie soundtrack:  Baghdad International Airport

Under Attack.  Waking, head on duffel bag, dawn’s

light painting the mud brick building beside me, the major

tells us thirty insurgents are dead just beyond

the building I’ve spent my first night against.  Soon after,

“prepare to move,” and we walk into this country,

the weight of a year in my chest.


“Sergeant Edwards is dead,”

As I awake before dawn, in the long tent’s double line of metal beds,

I hear two soldiers already up and in uniform say it, “Sergeant Edwards

is dead.”  I know it’s true.  He had just come to me to talk, but that

was before I slept.  I don’t want to rise up, dress, walk down as they

move along the aisle, to find the details.  And blessedly, in this moment

I cannot rise – my body won’t move.  Hours later, I read, “No Phones,

No Computers” posted as I walk into the empty MWR.  Under a string

of Christmas lights, three Marines play at a pool table by the empty

phone bank’s doorway, while somewhere across the world

men in uniform approach his wife.

War Enters Poetry

"Bullet,/ here is where the world ends, every time."

--Brian Turner

War enters poetry like Napoleon enters

a Russian ghost capital, the grand city

gutted by news of his coming, abandoned

buildings, shifting light of their burning

by passionate arsonists hung at street corners,

no one remaining to demand surrender of,

tribute from, hollow land where words

can paint a dark windstorm of bullets,

artillery's flashtube reveals of doom, name

the minefields of dying, all manners

of wounding, but its figures made lampblack,

no language can lift the dead city, war's

cancer on the world

An Army combat veteran, Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia on a property lush with vegetation. He has poems in Poets Reading the News, Gyroscope Review, San Pedro River Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, The New Verse NewsAriel Chart, Quaci Press Magazine, and other places.


Popular posts from this blog

Amy Holman

My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg  We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard. The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip  and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer, either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped  the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction  of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true.  We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet  in those moments of a cold November day, we watched  a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat  a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline,

Beneath the Chickenshit Mormon Sun by Bruce Embree

I've posted this before, on a depressing day probably just like this one. This poem makes me feel better. That's all I have to say on that. It turned out worse than I thought The champion defended his title then Eldridge Cleaver came on to talk about his reasons for becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Grandma and I damn near fell out of our chairs Went to town and got crazy drunk Came back home, called you long-distance after cruising and drooling Mainstreet again This is my last wish and love poem It is as follows Want to hold the wake at noon with plenty of acid and rum No friends and relatives Ghost music by Hendrix and the Byrds drowning all sound as you fuck me to dust beneath the chickenshit Mormon sun. Links:

Maureen O'Leary

Grief (for J’uan) Maybe we turn into clouds of reefer Particulates coating the lungs of the people thinking about us First and secondhand smoke Clinging to the frizzing gray locs of the women mourning us Or maybe we are in the splashes of Hennessey Swirling in the bottoms of Styrofoam cups A bad burn in the throats of our brothers Something to remember us by On the way back up. Maybe we are still here. In the way the candles keep going out In the way they call out to God. If they only looked up they could see our eyes Shining through the branches and glittering through the haze Below the stars. Maureen O'Leary lives in Sacramento, California. Her work appears in Coffin Bell Journal, Bandit Fiction, The Horror Zine, Ariadne Magazine, and Sycamore Review. She is a graduate of Ashland MFA.