third birthday caked-on mud, candy apple Iraqi juice
and a cowboy stick dangling on a piece of chapped lip.
soot-eyed Charlie clamped in grass and dirt splotches
Midwest made chin straps,
raised letters on plastic
“made in the US”
Newsweek coffee table happening and a full Time’s spread
postings on assorted blogs
a half-dead embed with a tight lens
a mite quicker on the draw
you almost killed him.
the day after
wet mouth dribbling blood warm
in the back
of an all-expenses-paid auto repair class
Fallujah redneck snaps massless rifles at backfiring cars
you don’t know why
you wake up occasionally gripping your wife’s neck
like the last ration
a cat gorges on the inside of a dead Iraqi
you wake up to lumpy brown oatmeal
Time’s man of the year
for an instant of war
and a shy kid
calls you a g.
Warren Longmire is a writer, a software engineer, and an educator from the bad part of North Philadelphia. He is the cofounder of the Excelano Project Spoken Word Collective and the director of poetry events for Blue Stoop. You can find his writing in journals including American Poetry Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Eleven Eleven, and The New Purlieu Review and on his instagram @alongmirewriter.