portion of the artwork for Lois Beebe Hayna's poem

To Be Continued
Lois Beebe Hayna

He reminds himself that he’s back now,
walking a quiet street that he’s known all his life.
Moving smartly along in a kind of disbelief
that he made it back. Kind of hoping
he’ll meet a familiar face. Maybe not, though.
Not till he quits shaking. Not till he’s sure
he won’t duck for cover if a car back-fires.
He’ll know for sure then that it’s over.
For him, anyway. Even his dreams
will find their way home. Will forget that hell
of sand and IEDs and eyes that hate.
Not that back here there isn’t hate enough
to fill a fleet of Humvees. It’s only weeks,
really, since all the flags and parades
and crazy photo-op caresses, and already
home—its own kind of war-zone. The kids
scream and squabble. His wife—
God, she’s a nut-case—how in hell
did they make it through his tours of duty?
They drive him out of his skull
till time after time he explodes in a crazy fury
blacking out in rage. Can’t help himself.
All he wants, really, is peace. No stress.
Just one ordinary day after another
so dull, so boring he’ll remember
why it was he signed up for war in the first place.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 30 | Fall 2010