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by Mallory Rader
​©2020 Esko Viitanen                                                                                                         
IG: @Esko.t.v                                                                                                                                                   
 Mallory Rader spends a majority of her time in the fetal position. She has been published in The Write LaunchInk and VoicesFourth and SycamoreVolney Road Review, and others.
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On Returning from War



The day he left

                           for basic training,

his face was sullen,

                                                                         sunken,

a doom simmering his cheeks.

He swirled                     a sponge

around a bowl in the sink,


                                                                               silent,

looking above at a fly

                                                                 that buzzed and battered


by the kitchen’s dim light.

When he left,

                                         they only swarmed

through the barracks,                                                  through his brain,


refining—

like maggots shuffling to the core of an apple.

                                                                  The flies stormed our house the day


he left

                                         and only multiplied—

                                                       seized our soundness and covered it in gunk.

You cannot redirect the mind like the gurus say. 

You cannot dissipate years of training. 

Mistakes cannot be killed—                                                                        not like flies.



© 2020 West Trade Review