As I Clean My Rifle
I’m still tired from that last patrol
The quiet holds me,
And the flow state hits.
I could do this in my sleep—
Zen through rifle disassembly,
A blindfold party trick that no one cares about.
The warm embrace of CLP,
Cleaning, lubricating, protecting—a wondrous product—
The smell knocks and I spit out the taste of
Sand, and IED aftershocks rattle in my chest.
I loved my M4,
And I love my AR15. Mine.
Ecstasy through reassembly.
The dry heat comes and the never-
Ending exhaustion. I’m still tired from that last patrol;
I always will be—a problem that no one cares about.
The last patrol. An existence no one cares about.
✽ ✽ ✽
J.B. Stevens lives in the Southeastern United States with his wife and daughter. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for poetry, was a finalist for the Killer Nashville Claymore award, and won Mystery Tribune’s inaugural micro-fiction contest.His poetry chapbook All the Violent Memories is being released in March 2021, his short story collection A Therapeutic Death is being released in October 2021—both from Close to The Bone publishing. He is a veteran of the Iraq war where he earned a Bronze Star. Prior to the war, he was an undefeated Mixed Martial Arts Fighter. J.B. graduated from The Citadel.