An After-war Poem


Freshly scrubbed, fed and cleansed of your war for
But you suspect,
that the stink won’t go away.
The odors will betray,
(you) like the lies of privileged men.
“Ambition. Sacrifice. Honor.”
“Now,” you think,
“things all smell the same.”
A change in the breeze
brings on
burning rubber and oil.
The memories of sweat, urine, and shit.
Those smells of people and rot
The revolting dead-air breath
of coffee, cigarettes,
and vomit.
All compounded with
animal fear.
This is nature’s trick to
mock you for believing the lies.

—Lt. Col. William Adler, U.S. Army



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March 2023