We love war, your mother and I adore our Shakespearean meltdowns. She will assault your father’s frail ego, and he’ll go all Lear on himself. Feels good. Then rain the tears upon the howling heath. But who doesn’t need a good war? In Kabul, Aleppo. Chicago, LA, DC—we envy the dead! Why else would we send so many thither? and just as zestily stir up reinforcements. Who come crying hither, quoth the poet. And go guttering from the tall tallows of their lives. With curtains wavering in windows, palm fronds dashing themselves to the street like cranes committing suicide. Shy Mercedeses. And crows darting across the sky. The light is all there is to notice the seasons curling into or out of the dust. While the muse uses me, just as you spend your mother’s summer body. Here’s to hoping you come hither bawling and wawling. Delivered from the womb into the womb of the world, from the world into words. Every father should beg for forgiveness, first. If this life be some mysterious school, or some other New Age nonsense. I fear it is nothing but blood pooling on the tiles like a shout cooling in a thought above the corpse of Cordelia in the food court of that mall in Nairobi today. I’m blind. I pray you do not cast the shadow of my grief when first you breathe and cry upon this stage of lies. I forgive your mother, and she has forgiven me. I prithee. Mark me, my child.

DAN O’BRIEN’s third collection of poetry, New Life, will be published by CB Editions in London in 2015. His second collection, _Scarsdale, was published by CB Editions in 2014, and in the US by Measure Press in 2015. War Reporter, his debut collection, was published in 2013 by CB Editions, and by Hanging Loose Press in the US. War Reporter received the 2013 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Foundation’s Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, both in the UK. O'Brien’s poems have appeared internationally in journals, magazines, and newspapers including 32 Poems, 5 AM, 10Tal, Ambit, Bare Fiction, Birmingham Poetry Review, Cold Mountain Review, and Crab Orchard Review.