When the War is Over

So tell me — when the war is over, 

will you let me follow you home?

When the napalm sky is no longer pretty with 

a million dancing fireflies and 

red roses we throw into the air,

may I follow you home? 

When you’re knocking at His door,

may you tell Him that you brought another,

and take me with you? 

Maybe you don’t remember, but I do. 

I remember it all.

Underneath the gruff screams of wayfaring men and 

trenches dug deep into naked earth and the

comfort of wet skin against skin, you made me

a promise. And what is a promise if not 

something to believe? Tell me, 

what is your promise if not something to 

believe in? I believed you. I believed you as I slept in

your warm uniform the color of 

snakes camouflaged in forest grass, knowing that 

the chances of it turning brown by morning are higher 

than the chances of it staying green. 

Green is such a beautiful color. 

Green is such a pretty color. It is prettier than the person I’m becoming.

Green is the color of your pockets where I tucked that photo of us

as I said goodbye for the last time,

and green is the color of my fiancée’s eyes that I do not deserve to wake up to. Father wonders when 

this head of mine will recover from 

fever, Mother wants me to make a man of myself, and

the doctor says that arrhythmia is an

irregular rhythm of the heart, but 

I- I guess I’m different, because I feel it all over me. On my neck where

I taste your lips baked dry in the sun and 

in my hungry stomach where my intestines twist

and turn and bleed

like dying anacondas when I think about

you. I’m seeing the whole

universe in eyes that aren’t here 

anymore. Archaeologists would call me a sick man, 

historians would say that I’m a cheater,

and my heart would say that I’m

yours. My pen is dry and I have no words left except

I miss you. Don’t you 

know that I can’t help it? The anacondas in the forest

also have a hard time forgetting.

We swallow memories whole and we digest 

them for the rest of our lives. Don’t you know that I’ve waited for you

for a thousand years? I’ve loved you for a thousand 

years, and I’ll wait another hundred

thousand years until a second war brings us together

again. It’s a sin to wish for war, but I’ve sinned too far to go back. 

So teach me how to save these chambered ventricles of my heart from going up in gunfire. Teach me how to rinse my parched mouth twice with 

seawater when a boy I love asks me to meet him where the mosses don’t grow.

You pointed up at the sky and told me that we could 

see the constellations from there. We threw flowers for those who fell and painted fireflies in the sky for those who rose.

I still remember you.

My ears remember the exact frequency and color 

of your baritone voice. My little head still pictures

you and I together, and I want to

wake up next to you on grass however green or bloody. I want to rest in your uniform

and read your old copy of Mary Shelley

when the world is asleep for just a second to reload

its guns. 

I’m in love with the way you hugged me tightly 

as the rest of the world crumbled away, 

and I want you back. I want you all over me,

I want you in me and wrapped

around my body like an anaconda until I cannot breathe. 

Remember that night when the sky was as black as 

tar and I told you that I wanted to be a
physician of the heart? I find it funny now. I find it hilarious now. 

Shut up. I need to stop laughing. 

Only crazy people find this shit funny. 

I don’t care. I keep laughing, because

isn’t it funny that I’ve always wanted to dedicate 

the rest of my life to fixing human hearts, 

when I don’t even know where 

my own is? 

Let me be foolish, and 

let me miss you. Wait right here for me, my soldier. Don’t go anywhere, please. 

I’m going to dive to the bottom of my dirty river

and I’m going to give you my heart again. 

I’m going to find it and I’m going to find you 

and I’m going to find us. I’m going to find us. I’m going to find us, 

I promise, so we can waste ourselves away on cheap whiskey and have a laugh together on a Sunday afternoon like you promised. 

So tell me — when the war is over, 

will you let me follow you home?

When the sky is no longer pretty with 

napalm colors and wilted flowers

we throw into the air for our brothers,

may I follow you home? 

When you’re knocking at His door,

may you tell Him that you brought another,

and take me with you?

I was dying, so why 

did He choose you and not me? 

He chose you on May 1, 1917.