“Paratrooper” by Sean Barnett

U.S. Memorial Day Special:
The best of contemporary war poetry.
⁓The Voice before the Void


Sean Barnett

Deteriorating cartilage,
torn meniscus,
bruising of the femur.

Arthritic diagnosis,
disabling infusion
of shrapnel, peppered
by an explosion.

Then, my parachute’s
canopy partially inverted,
slamming me to
the weakened joint.

Early morning clicks,
occasional popping midday,
and an aching in the evening
only endured by way of
abusive substance.

And that’s the good knee.

“Very Unhealthy” by Sean Barnett

War, still not gone.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Very Unhealthy”

Sean Barnett

I double, then triple
painkiller prescription.
Under my blankets
I float
a foot above my bed
my mind moves
out of the desert
and onto beaches with friends.

The sound of gunfire
The smell of blood
The shrapnel in my knee, Continue reading

“Enlistment” by Sean Barnett

Contemporary war poetry.
⁓The Voice before the Void


Sean Barnett

I did it because I was a horrible student. I—
Did it for the money. I—
or maybe it was so you wouldn’t have to. I—
did it because I lived in an ’89 suburban
Parked in the alley behind a buddy’s house,
Where I bathed in their pool and
drank keystones in the moonlight. I—
did it because I,
didn’t know what else to do.

“War Hero” by Sean Barnett

A perfect war poem.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“War Hero”

Sean Barnett

When we got off the plane–
After a year in Iraq,
There were flags and banners,
They read,
Welcome home troops

An elementary school choir sang,
The local news zoomed in,
Mothers, children, girlfriends and wives,
Clustered to greet us.
Everyone was looking our direction.

There was a frail old man,
Standing in the back, alone, Continue reading