“Heptad for Returning from War” by TJ Reynolds

“Ascension” by Kathy O’Meara


Writing poems after war is like holding up
a wall
with a baby wipe
a handful of grass.



Teaching feels like sex
for a large man
at first
a flailing performance
that works out most times
despite the sweat and
lumbar pain.



I watched my wife pull
3 kids from under
the pale blue
hospital gown. Her dignity spit out
like teeth
into a silver tray we all forgot
to empty.



My children grow like
roots learning
the only song
they know.



Sit with me and we’ll talk of pain.

Who here holds
the first stone?

Like the stray warning
shot from a sergeant’s
muzzle into a boy’s left leg.

That, he will never forget.



Taxis taste like meat
to my .762

Is this Sunni brine
a sip of thick water?



Part of me hopes            bullets
work with Bluetooth.

Maybe when they punch
through skin and bone
they upload souls
that won’t rightly belong
in    our Father’s    heaven.




TJ Reynolds has published non-fiction and poetry with NAILED Magazine, The Hour After Happy Hour Review, and F(r)iction Magazine. From 2004-2005, TJ served an infantryman in Iraq. He has 3 gorgeous children and works as an English Instructor at Cypress College, CA.