by Mark Melnicove

We passed around poems
we had brought to our monthly
critique in my cousin’s

cellar apartment.
The more I read
the more disconnected

I felt from the fantasies
inside me, with all
those other lines

about improvised explosive
devices, strip searches,
and depletion of self.

Then that word —
peace — appeared
in the margin

of a rough draft
by an out-of-town
poet.  He’d been sleeping

on my cousin’s couch
but was moving on
in the morning.

Peace — something about it
was awfully appealing —
but he had to catch a plane.