Searching After Balad

By James Deitz

Posted on

While buying groceries
at HEB. Sometimes I stand
and stare too long at
all the chocolate,
so many choices,
the Reese’s Pieces,
peanut butter package stained
with blood, shaking
hand reaching.

This continuous climb
into Everest explosions
after that mortar
landed, each IED
that implodes another
memory.  Each mortar
fragment that cuts into
Alicia.  Sharpened shrapnel
slices flesh. Jagged pieces
of her, fragments
of me breaking
a decade later.  Another
memory slips on loose
rocks, falls further
into desert sand
below, unravels and disappears.
I hike higher, reaching
closer to the Reese’s,
but dig deeper into
my own sand grave.

– James Deitz

Author’s Note: 22 veterans commit suicide everyday (VA 2016). 22 EVERYDAY. Hopefully, through awareness, support, and poetry, this tragic statistic will decrease. Hopefully, we will understand that we are not alone. We will stand strong together.