Body Bag should be required reading for every President and member of Congress considering sending their citizens to war. These poems, none more than four lines, are dollops of horror, heartbreak, endurance, humanity, vulnerability and a whole lot of love. Although I wish Borczon didn’t have to write Body Bag, I am grateful for this book and I am grateful knowing Matt is out there using his immense artistic skills to give us an idea of how it was and what it’s like.
Bob Pajich, author of The Trolleyman
When I got back from Afghanistan the weight of
everything I carried would clear a room, but no one said anything except thank you for your service.
Doctors save lives while corpsmen
sweep up bone dust
broken teeth and hair.
The soldier said he didn’t know
what hurt worse, stepping on the IED
or telling his wife about it the first time he called home.
Before Afghanistan I didn’t know
in children’s sizes.
All my friends
say they liked me
better before the war.
complained of leg pain
even though everything below his knee
was in a bag down at the burn pit.
Who ever thinks
PTSD isn’t my wife
and kid’s problem
doesn’t know them.
Matthew Borczon is a nurse and Navy sailor from Erie, Pa. He has published four books of poetry, A Clock of Human Bones (Yellow Chair Review), Battle Lines (Epic Rites Press), Capp Road (Nixes Mate Books), Ghost Train (Weasel Publishing), Sleepless Nights and Ghost Soldiers (Grey Boarders), and The Smallest Coffins are the Heaviest (Epic Rites Punk Chapbook). He was a recipient of the Emerging Artist Grant in his hometown of Erie, Pa. He was nominated for a Pushcart and a Best of the Net for poetry in 2016.
Copyright © 2019 Matt Borczon
Cover photograph from the collection of Lauren Leja
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.
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