Invisible Wounds

By Annette Langlois Grunseth 

Sutured in silence
he stopped telling the stories,
got on with life, family, a job.
Kept the blood and mess of war
out of his house.

But what he saw in Vietnam
could not be un-seen.
Stitched into his soul
was the worst day of his life
and another,
and another,
too much death, gore and grief.

Anything might trigger his temper:
his boss at work,
cold eggs served at a restaurant,
potato salad served on a bare plate
without even a god-damned lettuce leaf for garnish.

Years later when hostages
from the Middle East were released,
arriving home, praised, cheered on TV,
his anger burst open
Where was my welcome
when I came home?

He raged about being
spat upon, taunted,
when protestors shouted
How could you go to war?
How many did you kill?

Nothing was left unsaid.

Nothing could be undone;
He unraveled from
the shunning and shaming,
a most unwelcome home,
his wounds no longer
sutured in silence.


Annette Langlois Grunseth has published widely in journals and anthologies. Her chapbook Becoming Trans-Parent, One Family’s Journey of Gender Transition (FinishingLine Press) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She often writes while on the bike trail or in her kayak where her muse tags along just for the exercise.


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