Home From The War

Gil Arzola



it was the war they said

not the scent from the lilac bush.

it was the smell of piss on fatigues he

was remembering when

he didn’t answer right away.

“supper’s on” his mother said.


fried chicken and biscuits and

blood oozing like red gravy on

indifferent grass.


it was the taste of it they told us,

that lingers like stale bread and

hangs on your breath.

and so it’s best to pretend

not to notice they told us.  

when he stares at what isn’t there,

when he is

frightened by what

only he can see.

it’s best to just keep passing the peas.


Gil Arzola, who lives in Valparaiso, Indiana, is married with two daughters and a sometimes author.  Gil has published in Whetstone, Across The Board and Scholastic Coach and is at work on a book of poetry and a book of essays.