His heart gave out two nights ago
at 29, four years out of Iraq.
In war, with mangled vehicles,
mechanics strip the intact parts.
Fuel pump, clutch, perhaps an axle,
roof hatch, carburetor, clutch,
random gauges, a machine gun mount.
Back home in Pinson
Tennessee, he heard cicadas
saw his head
around the clock.
A jobless drift of smashed chairs.
A son meandering the fence
around my sister’s yard,
tremors in his vision as he
spat accusations in the grass.
Meth: a gnashing chatter.
Heroin: molasses in a moan.
His Purple Heart
lying with its recovered bullet
in a satin-lined box.
A year of VA rehab lockdown,
with a Johnson City keyhole view:
him, his eyes lost in the mountains,
from a bench out on the lawn.
Two nights ago, his heart gave out
at 29. He’s on life support
until they harvest organs.
Eric Forsbergh’s poetry has appeared in The Journal of The American Medical Association, Zeotrope, Artemis, The Cafe Review, and other venues. In 2016, he was awarded a Pushcart nomination by The Northern Virginia Review. He is a Vietnam veteran.