No Man Left Behind (Minutes Without A Veteran Suicide: 65)

in World by

Dead soldier squeezed
against his civilian threads,
beer buzzing like an IED.

Fallujah was a hellhole,
he slurs at everyone—
sober and shit-faced. Spent

a night in Saddam’s palace.
Got no sleep—just counted
rounds from 50 calibers—

dreaming about Kuwait, that
goddam vacation. He surveys
the hums and clicks of the fan

before falling on his comrade,
shrapnel glints across the bar. This
place sounds like it’s gonna blow,

he laughs. Head thrown back,
hands locked around another
empty, he breathes. Good. Fuck it.


Abigail Carl-Klassen’s work has appeared in ZYZZYVA,Cimarron Review, Guernica, Aster(ix) and Post Road. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets 2015. She earned an MFA from the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual Creative Writing Program and taught at El Paso Community College and the University of Texas El Paso.

Photo by U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.