Casualties of War

My daddy’s war brought him back home
Still floundering like an eel out of water
Three years of fighting left him unsuited
For most everything but demolition work

Alcohol did little to mute his explosions
Into a dark reality so we all learned to tiptoe
Around him like he was made of nitroglycerin
Mama received the brunt of his forcefulness

His only son and three daughters became
Love’s innocent sacrificial lambs for the slaughter
Our emotional offerings tenderized by blunt force
And irreconcilable differences of opinion

Spiteful gnats still drink from childhood’s sweat
Burning are my sandspur memories of Carolina

A Fish Out of Water

It was low tide and we were
Searching for shark’s teeth
At the surf’s edge

Not having much luck
I decided to walk on up the beach
Toward the fishing pier

It was just after daylight
And the sun was rising gold to silver
Painting the morning

Gloriously blue
The platform was quiet except for
A few fishermen

At piers end
Waiting for the big ones to show
They had not arrived yet

I walked back to the middle
Of the pier and sat down on a bench
The fellow to my left

Was reeling in a small shark
It was putting up a pretty good fight
But he finally reeled it to rail edge

Damn Sharks, the fisherman muttered
Immediately cutting the line and
Allowing the fish, hook in mouth, to fall

Back into the vastness of ocean where
Rejection was celebrated with a splash

Nathan is a carpenter/poet living in the mountains of Tennessee.
His poetry has appeared at Red River Review, Tamafyhr Mountain
Poetry, Lily, Underground Window, Zafusy, and Blue House.

© 2006 Underground Voices