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Blog

Poetry And The Days After

 

Daily Bread

Andrew McCollough

bread-loaf-stone
tomorrow morning you will bake me a loaf
from these words, dry, fine-ground between
our grating weight.
— "Dry Bread" in Aftermath by A.W.

This is not the aftermath of the breakup, but of the  relationship. When it is over but yet, unbearably, continues. 

This is tasting  staleness. Nourishment that does not; food that starves; honey that is bitter in its dregs. 

I have had my share and a little extra of these loaves. Served myself extra helpings, more slices, because, well, isn't something better than nothing?

No. It isn't. 

Just end it, move on. Even doing it wrong, again,  somewhere else, is better than doing it wrong, over and over, in the same place. 

Because, eventually, you might learn that it isn't where and it isn't them. 

And learn to bake a new loaf. 

A Meeting

Andrew McCollough

Somewhere,
Quietly waiting
In a box on some shelf,
Or hiding in some battle-crusted rifle
That shakes in nervous hands,
There’s a tiny drop of lead.
— Excerpt From: J.E. McCollough and Andrew W McCollough. “Aftermath.” iBooks.

Sometimes being constantly threatened can engender a sense of fatalism. That feeling fades, but it's always there in the back of your mind. - J.E. 

 

Naked

Andrew McCollough

Now,
when the dreams come
and I’m a shaking pile of sweat and tears

I’m naked without my weapons
— Excerpt From: J.E. McCollough and Andrew W McCollough. “Aftermath.”

When you wear a weapon for a long time it becomes a part of you. An extension of you. Cops understand, but they at least take their weapon off sometimes. Things changed once the invasion turned into an occupation, but in the first months our weapons never left us, even when we slept they'd be there in the sleeping bag, loaded, ready. 

And then you come home, and the part of you that was always there to protect you suddenly... isn't.  -- J.E. 

Regret

Andrew McCollough

I should have killed him,
Finished it with a knee on his throat,
or a bullet.
— Excerpt From: J.E. McCollough and Andrew W McCollough. “Aftermath.”

This piece isn't in any way metaphorical. It was after the first major firefight the battalion I supported got into during the invasion of Iraq. The other guys were doing interrogations and I was going through piles of dead bodies, searching their pockets for intelligence.  -- J.E.