Nov 25, 2014

from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Written by Brandon Courtney

Read by Andrea Witzke Slot


Paradise will never come
to Iraqi men,
forced to kneel on rice

for hours, their eyes hooded
like falcons. I have
known something

of darkness, but never this.
I don’t think it leaves us,
but what do I know

of blindness? I know
this: the bullet needs
a body to exist.

I know this: the knife knows blood
wants out.


The bullet
shot by an Iraqi soldier
will never pierce my heart.

For a slug to enter
my chest, it must first
travel halfway,

half a quarter, an eighth –
ad infinitum – which means
pain is an illusion.

A bullet’s movement is measured
by infinite divisions,

which means algebra
must fail before I can
bleed, which means

the red I see is misbelief:
nothing can leave
my body, if nothing breaks

my skin. The sea is still the sea,
no matter how much salt

the dead need
to spin their halos.