They Were Warriors First

by Matthew Davison


Sergeant Mackey

by Dwight Jenkins


Answer to Our Youth

by Dennis O’Brien


Our Lonely Death

by George Nolta


Just for Today

by Michele Johnson


Voices in the Sky

by Paul Nyerick



By Dean Robinson, M.D., Army

Writing Type: Poem

Perhaps you'd grasp the reasons why
if you had helped a buddy die,
and heard his savage shrieks of pain,
and shoved his guts inside again,
and breathed the stink of burning blood,
first a trickle, then a flood,
--why then, my friend, and only then,
would you know where I have been.
When you have touched his face in death
and felt his final, gasping breath,
and tasted the rancid spit
from clouds of flesh and sundered grit,
and surged with waves of helpless rage
for bombers vanished from the stage
--why then, my friend, and only then,
would you be where I have been.
When you then turn from Him above,
abandon faith in grace or love,
and chose the paths that must descend
to where the demon snarls within,
unleash it to avenge them all,
yet live to witness your own fall,
--why then, my friend, and only then,
would you be what I have been.
So when you're done, and must return
from where such vicious hatreds burn
to just reclaim the life you knew,
but find war's not done with you,
and taunts your thoughts and tortured dreams
with restless dead and silenced screams,
--why then, my friend, and only then,
dare you presume to judge my sin.

Notes: *****Author's Note: As Chief of Mental Health Service at Overton Brooks VAMC, and also from serving as a flight surgeon and psychiatrist with 917th Wing, I have learned from the experiences of many who have returned. This poem reflects the depth of their more private wounds.****

The Gates of Nothingness

by Ben Hawkins


Dance Little Children

by Dennis O’Brien


Somewhere a Woman Is Building an Ark

by Louise Eisenbrandt


That Look

by David Marchant


The Turret Guard

by Jack Tompkins


The Nurses and Staff of My VA Hospital

by Jeffrey Saarela