Three PTSD Poems – Matthew Borczon


night terror 20

I held
a British
machine gun
in my
dream and
I am outside
and my
uniform feels
new and not
stiff from
sweat and
bleach as
I march
with a
detail of
soldiers off
the base
all the
while I
am wishing
I had
tried harder
back at
fort Jackson
shot with
my eyes
open learned
co ordinates
memorized a
9 line
to call
a helicopter
anything I
could have
used back
then in
or now
in this
where I
will die
with me.


today I’m
trying to
live around
the voices
of dead
inside my
on the
news 49
are killed
in Florida
and the
voices are
telling me
to grab
a jump bag
and get
ready to
run when
I hear
the helicopters
my coffee
is cold
and I
drive too
fast through
early morning
streets looking
for wounded
I know
aren’t there
like I
know the
voices aren’t
there but
it all
feels real
to me
as I look
for the dead
and try
to convince
myself that
I shouldn’t
when they
report their

What I should talk about in therapy

my youngest
cries at
the thought
that I
might leave
still leave
me shaking
in my
own sweat
I left
Steves wedding
before dinner
because I
can’t sit
in a
room full
of strangers
without seeing
the enemy
my food
tastes like
sand and
90 degree
heat only
reminds me
of how
sticky blood
feels when
you try
to wash
it off
your hands
my father
lived for
2 years
after I
got back
but I
still count
him among
the casualties.

Matthew Borczon is a nurse and Navy sailor who was stationed in the busiest combat hospital in Afghanistan in 2010-11. He writes about his experiences there and about his life now as an adult with PTSD. His work has appeared in many online journals including the Yellow Chair Review, dead snakes, the Beatnik cowboy, the hobo camp review, drunk in a midnight choir, rasputin, dissident voice, busted Sharma as well as many others. His book A Clock of human bones won the 2015 yellow chair review chap book contest.


3 thoughts on “Three PTSD Poems – Matthew Borczon

  1. Powerful, direct, moving poems.
    And how can nation repay service of its citizens who go to war and don’t make it out or who make it but are shattered in some way.

    1. thanks for reading them. I do not know how to answer your question. I just keep going in a direction I hope is forward.

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