After the War

The town creaks open
like a series of rusty doors.
Reluctant store windows
display a fraction
of the little that’s on offer.
There are few shoppers.
Even the benches
where the oldsters sit
are occupied by
one man sleeping.

The sun is up.
It’s warm
so the weather is no excuse.
But a hard year
has made the people weary.
And striped umbrellas,
outdoor cafes,
are no attraction.
Nor is a “Big Sale” sign,
unblemished by the war.

No kid is in the mood for candy.
Or ice-cream.
Instead, they scour the battlefield
for bullet shells.
One can’t conceal his joy
at finding a crushed helmet.
Even excitement
can’t leave the war behind.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Dissident Voice, New World Writing, Santa Fe Literary Review, and Lost Pilots. Latest books, ”Between Two Fires”, “Covert” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the Seventh Quarry, La Presa and California Quarterly.. Read other articles by John.