I Carried the War with Me | Israel Uroko | Poetry

Dearly beloved,

If I, somehow, can talk the wheels in my brain to grind to a halt
perhaps I may find the sliver of me that can soak up the innocence of now.

But it is a pipe dream to think a casualty of war
can fully drown his senses even in the sweetest of wines.

Not with the wailing sounds of dying demographics,
deeply daggered down into the ears of his nightmares

I left the battlefield years ago but I carried the war with me.
These nightmares are all I know now,

Dopamine deficiency, from doggedly dawning danger,
dauntingly depressing until every emotion makes way for adrenaline.

Now, isn’t it funny that Fight or Flight is where I find my Zen?
Trained to harness stillness from the inertia of continuous chaos,

I figure if I stay reactively radioactive like a rabid dog on steroids,
I can forget I’m alive and every feeling that comes with it.

I guess the terror of trauma tames tender tendencies to teach tough tactics
so if I keep jumping through hoops, I can make this screaming amount to something.

I know you walk on eggshells around me. Silently pliant
as I tear into your patience with the ferocity of teeth stripping flesh from bone.

I know your anger too. I hear you babbling in hushed whispers
when you think I’m not listening.

Muttering profanities and cursing at the bloodshed that chewed up your optimist
and spit out a walking corpse. Hm! Only you can attempt a curse on a curse

The point is, I see the light of you dwindle with each day
as you stubbornly burn out on the altar of what used to be.

I see the way you look at me, the grief oceaning out of your baby blues
when you dare yourself enough to behold the rot in mine.

I know you mourn me like I’m no longer here.
If only you can go on living like I’m never coming back!

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