That year when my baby brother joined the Marines, I did not know he signed up, I did not know that the decision to take up arms was cemented decades earlier as we grew taller and cut teeth. I did not know he was long gone. The war that ravaged a household drove us all out, orphans born from an ever-boggling state of existence. None of us can sleep at night, the bombs going off and on and off and on–the form of shattered glass vases on a wall or tiled floor, my brother can’t watch the fireworks in the sky at night, now, or ever. All I can dream of is a reminisced memory of all the times we saw flickers of light and heard the noises, tumbling us from sleep into a full running panic, hiding under the bed, adrenaline beating in a chest, ear, heart, over and over, no matter where we fell in a boundary between the generals. The war? When have we known anything else, I ask myself.
Melissa Wabnitz Pumayugra
3 Questions for Melissa
What was your process for creating this work?
I was researching new forms of poetry and took my creative nod from a contemporary poet, Jose Hernandez Diaz. I've been enamored with the idea of combining new forms of prose with intentional enjambment.
What is the significance of the form/genre you chose for this work?
I originally wanted to resonate for a while on the concept of war, then I realized there were a lot of deeply, intimate forms of war that occur even amongst our national/international borders. Homes, relationships, internal struggles—all of these are a form of war. I think poetry best helps convey the urgency that some of us feel when we discuss these harder issues. We need poems and prose more than ever, I believe.
What is the significance of this work to you?
Well, Kings Road is the name of the road that I grew up on, and I want to formally also recognize that PTSD in the veteran community is still, sadly, a conversation we all should be willing to have (at least here in the United States.) Coupling these issues with domestic violence—I feel that my writing may provide some insight into the cyclical nature of all of these things. I know we can't all change the world in some mystical superhero capacity, but I believe writing may be the way that I can at least provide some sense of humanity.
Melissa Wabnitz Pumayugra (She/Her) is a writer based out of central Texas who enjoys a great tall tale and a medium iced coffee. Her work centers around identity, cultural phenomena, and embracing the past. Her photography and writing can be found on twitter (mel_the_puma) and in Blood Orange Review, You Might Need to Hear This, Oklahoma Today, Emerson Review, Hobart and many other obscure publications scattered throughout the globe.