Woman, Evansville, Indiana
He never drank a lick before the war
but he came back a fall-down drunk. He said
they’d cook up home brew from potatoes or
from fruit and then get bombed among the dead.
He started slapping me around, and changed
to someone moaning to himself at night,
oh God, oh Mom, a silent man, deranged
inside, his spirit bottled up. One night
last year I woke up with his hands around
my throat. His mouth was moving. He was dreaming.
I thumbed him in the eyes till he came round
and when he understood he broke down weeping.
He put his medals in a box. It’s done,
he said, and got a drink. It wasn’t done.
From Tongue of War: WWII Poems (BKMK Press, 2009) by Tony Barnstone. Copyright © 2009 by Tony Barnstone. Used with the permission of the author.