No memories of mortar rounds

explode in my nightmares,

waking me screaming.

The prickly-neck sense of ambush

has never crawled my skin,

making me refuse to enter

a bar to drink with friends.

I do not hide the throb of wounds

from things I saw, things I did,

under a scarred-over psyche.

I remember on my own:

A childhood glimpse of German

prisoners on a train through our town.

A drummer-boy’s coat from 1812

in West Point’s Museum.

The haunted eyes of refugees

from Kosovo, Aleppo.

The innocent red box cutter

on my husband’s desk.

Faces refracted through televised

flames in Baghdad, Damascus.

Flagged coffins in stone gardens.

From Streznewski’s newly released collection of poetry, “Dying with Robert Mitchum,” published by the Kelsay Books (

Streznewski has published two other poetry books, “Rag Time” and “Woman Words,” as well as profiles of Donald Hall, Jane Hirshfield, and Stanley Kunitz. She is the author of “Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessing of Extraordinary Potential,” a study of 100 gifted adults. She is working on a memoir based on her survival of open heart surgery. Her short story, “Cool Burn,” appeared in the summer issue of Genesis.

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