To Read Death Like Braille

Cody Gallo

bleached white as bone

Their haunted eyes

    stare back, shell-shocked

at my war-weary visage

    “What?” I ask

Must every silence

    be injected with trauma

do you think

    I am more fragile

than these drip castles

    or windswept dunes

bleached white as bone

    echoing still with

the laughter of our childhood


My ceramic armor

    still sits in an A-bag

covered in moon dust

    crusted with sweat salt

In from patrol,

    I used to remove

 ACU pants and let them

    stand in place of me

until they collapsed

    under their own weight


We’d perfected the tactics

    of chasing phantoms,

some emerged from

    the radio handset

others from SIGINT

    the worst from HUMINT,

most from our mind


    We chased hard

through brilliant daylight

    stumbled over thresholds

in pitch-dark night

    only to confront


widows resigned to injustice

    finger-tracing bullet pocks

to read death like braille



✽ ✽ ✽



Cody Gallo was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He served in the US Army, 82nd Airborne Division, as an Airborne Infantry Officer, from 2006 to 2010. He deployed to Iraq in 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and to Haiti in 2010 in support of Operation Unified Response. He then served in the Army National Guard as a Public Affairs Officer, from 2010 to 2016. He now works in the film & television industry and lives with his wife and daughter in Bergen, Norway. His poetry has been published in The Deadly Writers Patrol.