Coming Home: A poem by Joe Wheeler from the Warrior Writers workshop

A poem by Iraq War veteran Joe Wheeler from the Warrior Writers  project.

Coming home

Iraq was horrific.

The intense searing heat
that suffocated…
always.



Being shot at.

Hearing the mortar rounds 
fired at us.

The waiting, for the mortar

rounds to land on me or

one of my fellow soldiers.

The incoming wounded 
shot in the face.

The war broke my heart.

The war broke me.

What was worse 
was coming home
to a little girl
 who did not know me.

Naively, I expected open 
arms,
but to her I was 
the enemy.

I was the intruder.

I was waging war
 on her way of life.

Encroaching on her 
relationship
with her 
mother… my wife.

Worse than war 

was coming home a 
stranger
to my
 own family.

– Joe Wheeler

Joe Wheeler is a member of the warrior writers project who was deployed during the first year (OIF I) of the Iraq war with the 240th Forward Surgical Team attached to the Fourth Infantry Division as a surgical assistant. He was active duty army.

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