Nathaniel Cairney is an American poet and novelist who lives in Belgium. His chapbook Singing Dangerously of Sinking was a finalist for the 2021 Saguaro Prize in Poetry, and his poems have been published in The Cardiff Review, Midwest Review, Broad River Review and others.


Trigger Warning

War winter
in my new country   I won’t
turn on the heat    I don’t
have to tell the neighbors    why
it’s the war    of course
it’s the prices    the fraying
nerves   the fraying everything
the reason I left    the war
in my country    where
boys were issued     tools
to die   too young
my god those boys   strong
savvy    desirable   funny
a dozen different shades
of nobody’s parents having any money
I think of their hands now
their palms    the way
we huddled    solidarity
they say    on this side
we called it    something different
all the together-on-the-same-side words
we could think of     and at 17
I lost one    and then I
lost another one    in the street
wars    in winter    when the heat
in my country    was cranked
in every house    in every driveway
trucks burning gas for an hour    or more
just sitting there    just being warm
no one inside    everyone in the house
having a beer    maybe a smoke
just sitting there     empty
burning    in the cold
no one having    to tell
the neighbors why

Leave a Reply