Two Poems By Ron Riekki

        (hell) TBI/TMI (villain)
  
                                                                 for Tim O’Brien
                                                                 and Lee Mirecki
  
Ten people died in the military,
at least the one I was in—the Navy;
with my training, they taught me to carry
  
gurneys, didn’t teach us how to bury
the dead, because that would have been crazy.
Ten people died in the military.
  
The last, helicopter crash, a starry
night. Search & Rescue. The sea all wavy.
With my training, they taught me to carry
  
tourniquets, always, taught to be very
cautious, and how to cry like a baby.
Ten people died in the military.
  
I’ve never had kids, didn’t get married.
Maybe one day I will. Doubtful. Maybe.
With my training, they taught me to carry
  
doubt. My life has been disciplinary;
that’s the one thing I know that they gave me.
Ten people died in the military.
With my training, they taught me to carry . . . 
        My Hometown is a Mine, Nothing Else, Just a Hole in
  
                                              “It’s child’s play, this dead end”
                                                     --John N. Morris, “Boxtrap”
 
your head. Just a fever. In your head. Just
a lack of justice. And the fathers are in bed,
twelve-hour shifts that are thirteen, and they
shower but the shower doesn’t take off soot
that’s so deep in their skulls that you’d have
to kill the mine to free their skin from ashes
that embed in the teeth and the tunnels that
they tunnel are graves for the future and our
house shakes every noon when the dynamite
booms and our ceilings are lightninged with
violence where the train tracks so near like
to listen and hear our soft arguments at need
for peace and attention and family-time, but
the mine owns the world and our world, it’s
the mine, so we learn to live without fathers. 

Ron Riekki’s books include My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Apprentice House Press), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press).  Riekki co-edited Undocumented (Michigan State University Press) and The Many Lives of The Evil Dead (McFarland), and edited The Many Lives of It (McFarland), And Here (MSU Press), Here (MSU Press, Independent Publisher Book Award), and The Way North (Wayne State University Press, Michigan Notable Book).

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