Words After War: Supporting Veterans And Nurturing Communities

From A Popular Treatise on Comets (1861) by James C. Watson, courtesy of The Public Domain Review


Words After War is a Brooklyn-based literary organization dedicated to providing veterans, their families, and civilian supporters with the tools and opportunities to express themselves while fostering creative communities. They offer many programs and writing workshops with high-quality instruction and support at no cost, including their Literary Mentoring Program, which connects veteran writers with established writers for three-month periods, and studio retreats, giving veterans undisturbed time to focus on their craft. They are always looking for volunteers, and will graciously accept donations. For more information, contact them at info@wordsafterwar.org, and take a look at their work at http://wordsafterwar.org.

2 New Poems by Ben Mirov

Dear Veterans

you are proof of many things
worth remembering, among them
that war is a cloud of smoke

and guts hungry enough
to claim thousands of villages,
horses,  unborn geniuses, even entire

libraries, but not everything.
I have never understood
clutching a flag to my chest

or what an enemy is
but we can both agree
that your being a veteran

and not wedged beneath a block
of stone or worse, lost in a pile
of unknowns, is a wonderful thing.

You wander into a diner in Crabtown,
Pennsylvania, drink some coffee
and eat a lime-green wedge of pie.

Maude the waitress approaches
with her golden hair in a bun.
This poem has no end

For the Faint of Heart

When you return from the asylum
be sure to gaze at the trees
covered in snow. When the train

enters the forest, ask the waiter
for tea with milk. In the dark
take seriously the lesson

of fluttering hands. If it is offered
take the class they call Ornithography,
for it will surely teach you something

about love. On the subject of love
I have only a single observation—
if you love a grapefruit you cut it open

and eat its flesh. Take my advice.
Take it home to the ghost you love.
Slip into bed. Snuff out the lights.


Ben Mirov grew up in Northern California. He is the author of GhostMachine (Caketrian, 2010) and the chapbooks Vortexts (SUPERMACHINE, 2011), I is to Vorticism (New Michigan Press, 2010) and Collected Ghost (H_NGM_N, 2010).