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Steve Barichko

veteran’s day

the japanese have a word for disused paper moon

which we translate sunrise which my grandfather brought back

from the war and used with such disdain

the way some families reminisce at picnics during the volleyball game

mine has quieter anecdotes

did you ever see him

stand in the den before sunrise with his pistol

not pointed at anything

remember when he brought home a puppy

then locked himself in the bedroom

plenty of people other than me found him in tears

at the kitchen table mumbling about boys

who take entire grown men away

he used to say you can’t hate anything

you don’t really love and i wonder

whether there is one word for that


Steve Barichko is from Terryville, CT. His work has most recently appeared in the Aurora spring anthology. He is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee. Find him on Insta and Twitter @stevebarichko.


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