top of page

Veterans' Day Free Association

Dennis Maulsby

Women hold our void.

The tears I must not shed while locked in battle—to cry then a betrayal of my soldiers—release in the aftermath. I sob for the sacri-sacri-sacrificed. Soldiers smoke and laugh, stand among the fallen. GIs offer cigarettes to the dead. Shoulder-high elephant grass convulses, beaten by monsoon rain—corpses and stalks entwine. The crushing torrent smothers the stench. With every killing, we grow hollow, morph into a beetle carapace. Women hold our void. We’ll never again get it right with them. A lover says, “Your hands are so delicate, so gentle.” Arms stretched high; my fists flower-open in supplication.

Razor grass cuts.

Stigmata on arms

weep blood.

✽ ✽ ✽

Dennis Maulsby’s poems and short stories have appeared in numerous journals and on National Public Radio. His traditionally published books include: Near Death/Near Life, Free Fire Zone, Winterset, Heart Songs, and House de Gracie. Maulsby holds memberships in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, the Science Fiction Poetry Association, the Military Writers Society of America and is a past president of the Iowa Poetry Association. Website:

bottom of page