Author: Trey Palmisano
Trey Palmisano is a lifelong resident of Maryland where he works as a media analyst for a major defense contractor. He is a former adjunct professor of English at Towson University and former poet-in-residence at Carver Center for Arts & Technology. In 2003, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and in 2004 received a Keith L. Ware Liberty Bell award for his work in journalism. His poetry, book and social commentary has been widely published in such venues as Hawai’i Pacific Review, Ruah, Windhover, Genre,
and Mid-America Poetry Review,
and is current in the Roanoke Review, Poems & Plays, Streetlight,
and the anthology Becoming Fire: Spiritual Writing From Rising Generations
(Andover Newton Press). He is also the author of an upcoming chapbook, No Shadow of Turning,
by Main Street Rag Press. He lives with his wife, Krista, his newborn, Isabelle, and English bulldog, Tucker.
The Real Tragedy of War
“Oh, when it came to salvation I was only sure I needed to be spared someone else’s version of it.”
– Stephen Dunn from “Salvation”
In the field,
most of us become men
of faith without fail.
We huddle in tight circles,
clutching hands, some brush
back tears. We adorn our bodies
with crosses, while the very spiritual
among us crack a page or two
in our Bibles and read in silence.
Suddenly the preacher’s words
we’ve ignored our whole lives
are more important than orders
from captains and commanders.
With survival on our minds,
we swear off sin, wrest our hearts
of hate, pull out shards of pride,
if only to come home to wives and friends.
We flee foul-mouths and drunken
stupors, learn the name of Jesus
is no curse word,
our “God Bless Yous”
no longer just for sneezes.
And if by some chance
we return alive,
stumble into church,
only to be about our way,
not ready to give to God
the lives we credit to his care,
our tongues stuck
to our cheeks,
our fingers crossed
behind our backs.