One-Armed
by John Grey



He welcomes the brooding clouds,
the coming storm,
presses his fused right stub against glass.
It's a punning world now.
He's lost his touch.
He can't give somebody a hand
because an unknown enemy soldier has it.
Part of his face chuckles back at him
from within the window.
Image and reality both get the joke.

His disability leaves his wife
out of any possible hugs.
Only his eyes have the required grip.
And they're in league with the weather outside.
Oh how much he wants for lightning to strike.

Home is too vulnerable a position to take up.
He wishes he was back in the Middle East.
He misses the camaraderie of the dead.
All he has is his wife.
So where is war, his dark-haired true love?
And how wearisome is
all this shapeshifting
from soldier to civilian and back again,
ten thousand times a day.
Only one state wears a uniform.
And uniformity is still the best of chaperones.

Lightning does strike but far away.
But it's followed by the blessed nightmare
reach of thunder. Boom! Boom!
Enough firepower to slay an entire platoon.

At that window, a ghost hand displays
its palm from the other side,
spreads five fingers wide -
if he only had a soldering iron.
f ie had read somewhere
how the starfish, when it loses a limb,
eventually grows it back.
Now that's a skill he'd swap his military pension for.
Brutality is wasted on a starfish.





Illya's Honey Literary Journal

Copyright by Dallas Poets Community. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.