Left, Gone, and Back

by Christopher Lee Miles

When I left I saw trumpets spouting urine,
the foam of piss, note-bubbles
rising to froth in a salty stench.

When gone I was gray, the hoary fur
of a wolf just dead
in a field of snow.

Now back, razors, cracks
of rifles, moist chipboard swelling, leather
notches worn wide on the strap
I found at the dump.

At the dump the guard took my ticket.
His hat said Veteran,
as if someone understood
what left, gone,
and back means.

Christopher Lee Miles served four years in the US Navy. During that time he was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He is currently an M.F.A. candidate in Poetry at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Back to Issue Five: Fall 2009