War Poems


A lotus spreads upon
the first flash of sunlight,
sprouting to horrific bloom
by a single seed from Hades
in the crude, lime hue,
where apparitions assume
the shape of fleeing howls.
The deafening concussion
is followed by the intrusive silence.
The carbon residue of grief.





has unsightly blood stains
on its ravenous chops.
The sound of sunbaked ligaments
severing is the hound’s teeth
tearing meat off the femur.

Some say this is the way of communion,
feasting on the body,
but I can’t offer a catharsis to this poem,
not even when the canine’s teeth
submerge into young flesh,
and the mutt executes that savage little
shake as it pulls off the right mouthful.
The poem won’t stop.

This is after the poem
is let free in the woods
and starts mutilating rodents.
If this poem continues to feed,
the reader won’t have to see
the quickness of the tongue
lapping cherry fluid
from the vacant eye socket.

No narrator will tell
if the littered alley
or the rusty dirt
soaked in a red paste
witnessed this feast,
or if this poem
has the mercy to end.





1. Orientation

First one might consider
the position of moon
or a way to self-reflect,
so no one sees the shadows
budding under your eyes.

2. Situation

Too often one may not know
the temperature of the soup
until foolish fingers retract,
seasoning with one’s own
young flesh.

3. Mission

This is when folly becomes key,
when a board game unfolds
with each roll a dice;
a thousand lay choking
on their own blood.

4. Execution

Think about the crosshairs
(aimed center mass) between
narrow shoulders. They’ll never
have to live with your decision.

5. Administration & Logistics

These wretched inter-workings
fostering an infinitesimal tick,
replacing beating hearts,
chiming together in grim perfection—
vile, polished arbors & hands.

6. Command & Signal

Upon the assault, such distinct
sights avail. Not even floods
or great tempests can aspire
such wreck. The fiery smear
of bloody dwellings are seen
only by dead eyes. Old bones
once mastered these tasks.





is to question only those
that no longer breathe.
Some call it a game of dogs.
The Lieutenant says to search
the mosque, call the bombs,
& be sure to scavenge
all the flesh before leaving.

So one must.

A patrol moves, observes, & secures
but speaks nothing of a mission.
Call it nihilism, atheism,
or surrealism
but the dogs call it their day.

Nobody thought to write down
the rules before the game began,
so the mutts lap up bile
from the pot holes along
the markets & snap scraps
from the shifty hands of merchants.

Front page image by DVIDSHUB.

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Kyle Adamson

About the Author

Kyle Adamson is an MFA student at Bennington College and earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University. He is the winner of the 2010 AWP Intro to Journals Award and a Pushcart nominee. He has been published in the Artful Dodge, Revolver, Alaska Quarterly Review, Water-Stone Review, Midway Journal, Specter and r.kv.r.y. Kyle served in the Marine Corps infantry and deployed twice to Iraq. Kyle resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
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