Brian Turner

The Hurt Locker

Nothing but the hurt left here.
Nothing but bullets and pain
and the bled out slumping
and all the fucks and goddamns
and Jesus Christs of the wounded.
Nothing left here but the hurt.

Believe it when you see it.
Believe it when a 12-year-old
rolls a grenade into the room.
Or when a sniper punches a hole
deep into someone’s skull.
Believe it when four men
step from a taxicab in Mosul
to shower the street in brass
and fire. Open the hurt locker
and see what there is of knives
and teeth. Open the hurt locker and learn
how rough men come hunting for souls.

Brian Turner
"The Hurt Locker" was first published in Crab Orchard Review, Documenting the Decade Issue, and appears in the collection Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005).

First posted on April 19, 2005 6:30 AM