Poem: Living is the Hardest Thing

Living is the Hardest Thing
by Nicole Goodwin, US Army
Third Place Winner: 2017 Heroes’ Voices National Veterans Poetry Contest

“Where was your child when you deployed?”
“How long did you stay away?”
“Did you ever think you wouldn’t survive?”
“Did you ever kill anyone?”

These questions hunt me down like a boar
in broad daylight.

My apartment is silent,
but I can still feel the pounding
of the mortars.

The boom of the bombs.

These sounds rattle
my cage, pushing against
my sanity.

Each day threatens to
crumble the walls.

Sandstorms whip nightmares
around my throat. Breathe!

I cannot.
The air is brittle.

Trails of sweat dance
with traces of my tears
of salt. All left to conjure

a reality that is a dream
before dying.