when the war is

i return to my

the clocks run down

forever stuck documenting
the very second of their last

and i the same

washed up on shore like a dead
bird stuck in plastic trash
welcome home

all the unread books
on my bookshelf
collecting dust
i open one
but my head burns
like a dry whiskey hangover
and my eyes shake
like a paint shaker

i clear the black stain
from the mirror
i wipe down the floors
i put on an old record
and i dance with the ghost
of christmas past

when my blood was thick
my lungs huge and booming like an atom bomb
there was something to celebrate

the war is over now
i return a failure
walking in circles with two left feet
typing these poems with my ten thumbs
eyes glazed lost in the looking glass

i just wish it would take me again
i’d rather be out dying in a war of passion
than pace the halls of my house
in the afterbirth
of what could have been

had i been more willing to stay in the shock

more willing to stay
in the madness
in the quiet
in the rich thick of uncertainty
in the flame of a star
a million degrees burning
but far enough away
just a bright god to wish upon
but now i lay coffee idled and dosed
counting the white spiders
by the sounds of their legs in the wall
marinating in the afterbirth
of potentially something
possibly nothing

who knows
who knows
who knows

the page
i ripped
from the script


Author: brice maiurro

Denver poet. Author of Stupid Flowers, out now through Punch Drunk Press.


  1. Excellent poem. Could be a soldier returning from war or a refugee coming back to their native town or village years later. Chronicles the human emotional ravages of war and displacement. The line “marinating in afterbirth” is just so powerful and startling yet essential to the narrative. Sort of puts me in the mind of the story To The Lighthouse. Amazing imagery!!

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