Saturday, April 6, 2024

Two Poems by Matt Borczon

My First Job After the War

Was as a

prison nurse

and the inmate

in our isolation

cell had been

shot 4 times

in an attempted

robbery and

I watched two

nurses stumble

over bandaging

him like monkeys

trying to type

Gone with the Wind


late into 3rd

shift I decide to

fix the mess

they made out

of him and I

understand really

no one learns

this kind of

thing in school

and they don’t

see enough gun

shots in the ER’s

of Erie Pennsylvania

for anyone to

get good at it


when I finish

the kid asks

me why are you

so much better

at this than

those other nurses


and I was

only three months

back from Afghanistan

and I was

still not ready

to talk about

any of it not 

with my wife

or kids

or father


not about Helmand

or my nightmares

or all the holes

I bandaged and

debrided or about

all the wounds

still too fresh

to close


just feel lucky

that I am better

than them

I said as

I walked out

of his cell.



Aaron Was Scary


I used

to fight

him in



around town

until he

became an

enforcer for

the local

drug gang



they say

we all 

meet someone

tougher than

we are

and when

a group

from Detroit

decided they

wanted to

control the

drug trade

in Erie

they sent

some guys

in only

Aaron didn’t

go down

like they

thought he



a few

days later


killed his

son walking

home from

school and

no one

has seen

Aaron in

almost six



they say

he just sits 

home sad

and alone


in a

way he

never saw



Bio: Matt Borczon is a nurse in a plasma donation center and a retired Navy sailor. He has published 18 books of poetry. His latest Post Deployment is available through Dumpster Fire Press.

1 comment:

  1. Matt Borczon has always been a strong voice for me. His work is necessary and courageous.


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