My friend’s father is a dead soldier.

By dead I mean, he blinks, he breathes and shifts between spaces

Every now and then but that is all.

Like clocks with batteries soaking wet but somehow still working,

Though not properly because the hands stay twitching in one spot,

He stares into nothingness while sitting on a sofa he bought,

once at a thrift shop with his wife by his side,

a child in her belly and glee surrounding them.

My friend’s father’s wife walks in every day and see him on the couch,

and does not know him

The memories flash in her head and she knows who sits there,

But she does not recognise him anymore.

Everything has changed about this man,

He touches her like one trying to tackle a bear with his bare hands,

losing but not quite.

He looks at her with bloodshot eyes and listens keenly,

Not at what she says but at everything else,

Like one at alert waiting for chaos to come.

And when she tries to calm this fire, she realises she is just gasoline,

Everyone is, all he does is burn.

So when she walks out her door every other day to the farmers market,

And familiar strangers ask how her husband who came back from the war is,

She replies, saying, “He is well.”

But they do not know that now the war exists inside of him.