The Day My Husband Came Home from the Endless War the Sky Split Open by Michelle Aucoin Wait


cold hard hail filled the ditch

marking our property line

locusts swarmed with sound

I saw one pink and alien

split its shell fall

to the ground

get taken under

as palmetto bugs crawled

up and out the earth waking

the needles

the limber pines

stood at attention in our backyard

exoskeletons kissed bark

clung for dear life

reminded us this plague

came from the desert

we traded life

for life candles lit

for him forgot the rest

someone or thing

must pay for participation

in this war for all this



we went all in each time

he left high stakes

years playing poker

taught me next time

my hand might catch

on the river no one wants

to go home the donkey

everyone wants the money wants part

of the war machine wants

the comforts that come from war

wants this more than life

they sell it with words images

with insurance war time bonuses

promises of education

and we bet we can make it

another year



the day my husband came

home from the endless war

I shed him of his uniform

inspected his body

for bruises for signs

he had returned

unharmed I knelt

as if to worship

swallowed him whole eventually

the newness created

by oceans and deserts and time

wore off

we went back to our familiar

routine yellow ribbons

hug my pines

exoskeletons cling

to the bows I’ve carefully


reminding me next time

someone else might


Michelle Aucoin Wait is an MFA (Poetry) candidate at University of Nevada, Reno. Michelle’s pronouns are she/her/hers/herself. Her work has appeared or will be appearing in Tiferet, Maudlin House, Lady/Liberty/Lit, LandLocked, The Meadow, Porkbelly Press, and others. She is a transplant from the Deep South and now resides beside a mountain with her family and her four yorkies.