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America at War

A Veteran Poet

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Mickey Cesar is a poet and a veteran of the Iraq War. He's written poems in the 140-degree heat of the desert with sand blowing every which way. He says all of his poems, regardless of the topic, are informed by the war. Cesar shares his story with Weekend America.


Sacraments have a different smell

here where the topsoil sinks deep,

and mud claims every living thing:

sludge, detritus,

the silk of spiders

and all things hidden from the sun;

mold-touched sheets of Leviticus,

the taste of copper in water,

the scent of sisters too long in the attic, oak leaves, grubs, all stop at the water's edge.

For long stretches,

God is unwilling to bend:

beyond lay dry seas,

scorched bitterness,


scorpions the baked flavor of crushed bone:

steam-dried and

roasted petroleum.

-- Mickey Ceasar

published by Poetry Society of New Hampshire anthology "The Other Side of Sorrow" 2006

More stories from our America at War series


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