The Different War by Michael Miller

Michael Miller served as a Marine from 1958-62. He was a young Marine,  joining when he was eighteen. The poems in The Different War (Truman State University, 64 pp., $$16.95, paper; $9.99 e book) deal with the Vietnam War, as well as our recent wars in the Middle East.  The thrust of these fine literary poems is the butcher’s bill of war. 

Miller’s poems have been published in The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, Ontario Review, Pinyon Review, The Sewanee Review, Raritan, The Yale Review, and other places. They bear tribute that Miller is one of our finest current war poets. 

Here is one of Miller’s most powerful poems, “Corporal Torres.”

The white rose that was his brain

Had closed, its petals folded

Upon the seams of blood,

After a thorn of shrapnel

Lodged in the frontal lobe

Was delicately removed,

One patch of silver-gray titanium

Perfectly placed.

He awoke from his ten-day coma,

Swollen face recognizable

To his mother alone.

The next surgery was awaiting him.

He would never pronounce

Afghanistan again. 

My advice is for everyone to buy this small book of poetry and read it. Buy it for any young friends who are considering joining the military. Especially the Marine Corps. It is a thought -provoking book.

—David Willson

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