IED by Neville F. Dastoor

In the war, Kirkwood conquered his swing. Firebase Cobra, Uruzgan province, he finagled a driver and twenty-dozen golf balls into an airdropped resupply. We punched tee holes into flattened MRE boxes and snapped blue chem lights and swung over the concertina wire into the night. The game was to match the strikes with the awful blasts from the howitzer. We couldn’t quite sync it. On our last box of balls, Kirkwood pulled in an immense breath and closed his eyes through a scything swing. The shot channeled whole the cannon’s monstrous boom. Kirkwood whooped and roared Behold my glory! and he flung the club and raised his tree-limb arms high until the bloomed explosion, the giant silhouetted there like some mythic conductor commanding fiery organs on the faraway hills. Then he turned sensei: Mind the breath, Chief. I swung and missed the thundering gun. The swing’s there, in the guts of the game. I kept hacking in dissonance. The fifth dimension fairways.

Kirkwood could teach you to golf or to kill or to breathe. Captain James T. Kirkwood, he stressed the T and the Kirk—Landed the starship Enterprise right down Taliban Lane, and don’t you forget it. Kirkwood, six-foot-whatever with John Henry forearms hauling double the gear and GI-Joe’ing it with red leg holes seeping, and when I was gagging he was stuffing friends’ body parts in bags, then patching and patting me: Mind the breath, Chief. Kirkwood, the black-Yeti vegan, yoked like egg batter, leapt out the Humvee after missions and shed his gear and dropped to the lotus pose at his bunk. He offered his bliss to the team, lined us up one night under a fat yellow moon. IED, boys, IED: Inhale. Exhale. Detach. Come out the other end loving every damn thing. I couldn’t.

Three months later, a Saturday morning, I drove broken Minotaur to Fort Bragg’s Stryker Golf Course. I paid for thirty-six holes and six Budweisers. The old Master Sergeant starter sniffed the air. Maybe rain, he said. We swapped gone-a’warring bonafides, and he winked and crooned—One hundred men will test today…but only three will win the green beret. I belted my golf bag to the cart and unzipped the side pocket and reached under the parachute cord for three balls and three tees and placed them and three beers in the cart’s holders and drove to Hole 1.

It’s a bright boulevard fairway. I downed three Buds and skulled my ball eighty meters into the wood. Then I teed up one of Kirkwood’s balls stamped with the starship Enterprise— he’d ordered customs without me: With that Tin Man swing, just save your money. He’d sweet-talk the ball before unleashing on it, unlocking it from someplace secret I’ve never been. I mashed his ball clean and it plopped on the fairway like a dollop of cream.

He won the hole.

Lucky bastard.

I’d found him where I’d left him.

A Saturday, too. The second after our return. A morning golden-blue, I drove to Kirkwood’s apartment with two coffees steaming, clubs jostling in the truck bed. I knocked on his red door, no answer, his cellphone to voicemail. The rest played in stop motion: splintering the door—charging the staircase—the bedroom door cracked—the knowing—his bed tucked cadet-tight—the maroon spice box upturned—its dried flowers spilled. Kirkwood dangling there. Head engorged, eyes popped, tongue jutting, shit-stinking.

He led after Hole 18.

The bastard bequeathed me the balls and Minotaur—a ‘93 two-tone brown Dodge Ram van fat and sweating. JAG drafted our mandatory wills before the deployment, and neither of us had a goddamn thing worth passing on. I donated my putter to science; Kirkwood requested a Viking pyre funeral at dawn. He scrawled the note about the balls later: So that Chief John Marker might finally hit them true.

I finished the beer at 19. I held Kirkwood’s starship Enterprise to the sky. We’d play all damn day, piss in the woods, scrounge in the brush for old balls, swing into twilight with no sound except for the ping of the stick and the hum. Get some! he’d yell after drives, and so there I took a wild swing with my putter, yelling, Get some! and releasing the club high. And there’s Kirkwood again, in the woods kicking pinecones and hacking great chunks from the earth. He cracks his ball before slipping on the pine needles and breaking his 5-iron against the high branches. The ball ricochets and clips a colonel mainlining whiskey on the adjacent hole, and he rushes Kirkwood spewing sunflower seeds and screaming old country curses about skinning gophers or something, and he’s right up into Kirkwood, stomping earth and screaming for Kirkwood to please inform him, If there is one goddamn baby virgin sapling anywhere on this god-forsaken golf course you haven’t smacked like a blind goddamn Tarzan! Kirkwood standing at attention and catching spittle. The colonel’s daughter loving all of it in their golf cart.

Kimmy.  She tracked Kirkwood down and sent a new 5-iron to the unit.

Thick, thick legs, he said about her downrange. Syrup-thick. Second toes like fish hooks —she’d never starve near water. Right before bed is my favorite—she takes so long getting ready, pitter-pattering around and lotion’ing up. Then she crawls in all fresh and smelling like flowers and oatmeal and tells me to go koala. So I wrap her up. She gets so hot. Temperature I mean. And the other way. Pulse thumping everywhere—knees, elbows. Mandolin ass. My little Boujee Birdie. I might marry her. The Year of Kirkwood, Chief.

He’d go on and on like that. Once I snatched a letter he was writing. I want to melt you down like gold and keep you warm in a thermos and hike to the deepest cave here and sip you. I knew the words were wasted. But it’s hard to say it. When he’s lying on his ruck and thumbing her photograph, lost someplace warm in the middle of the goddamn freezing mountains. Little other goodness there than that, and you don’t ruin it for each other because what’s the point, and maybe she changes when we get back. So I let him write.

With you the world is floppy-hatted lawn parties and sweet tea with mint and tiny rainbows through the sprinklers.

My heart beats only so you’ll answer it.

Five months later, he’s dangling from the ceiling. We redeployed and he twirled Kimmy on the tarmac and pressed the maroon spice box in her hands—Every flower was you—but a week later he found a text message from a Papi: When can you ditch Ol’ Boy? Then a secret Facebook page with Kimmy and pencil-bearded Papi kissing a Bible between them. The page dated back well into our deployment. Finally, fresh air, she commented under a hiking-selfie, and Papi wrote, U are so brave Pooh fo everything you put up wit Ol’ Boy, 1 day real soon we gonna do dis da right way in front of Christ’s eyez, and she responded, Maybe he won’t come home. On the Friday night she posted a sonogram.

Kirkwood’s heart beating only for her.

I drove the ball at Hole 11 far and straight. Kirkwood’s skipped ten yards past. I shouldered my bag and walked the ascending fairway. It should have been a fine place to be, a cartooned lawn and white butterflies dotting the path. It should have been all for me—the health from the tall sentry pines for me—if not for me then for no one. There’s no relief you’d be denied if you have the dignity to ask. You drop sling load and offer your heaviness. Anywhere. Separated from your team, pinned on a village’s hill, hidden prone behind brush with haggard hungry men multiplying and fomenting and crossing your sights, but you know the enemy’s sky and trees as friends. Truth or trick it helps to think that gifts were planted there long before you arrived.

Kirkwood had flipped me to my back where he found me on the hill. He knifed my sleeve to access the yawning underarm hole. He pressed and addressed it and the black blood slicked his gloves like an oilman’s, and we caught regrouped fire from the white robed villagers scraping up their meaningless hill, smoke and rocks twisting from the swarm’s desperate shooting, and Kirkwood dragged me back and returned fire down with his M4 in his offhand suppressing the advancing men, and he may have looked to them as he did to me in his ascension like some elemental machine of metal and flame and wire emerged from the earth to execute this single task, and from Kirkwood’s molten barrel came concentrated what love he had for me. The hill undisturbed as seen from space. Kirkwood then father then mother dropped me behind a tree and patted me and assured me, You stay down partner, lobbing grenades in inevitable arcs at the thin-bearded boys and at their fathers with wizard beards defending their one hill, their sacred hill, their playground hill, their fathers’ fathers’ fathers’ ancient hill, exploding them and spreading their parts, split teeth and bone now pebble embedded in the hill, now of its recipe, and my dark blood too it drank with a sliver of Kirkwood’s cheek, and the wasted villagers wailed at their flapping flesh as I had when Kirkwood found me limp praying to friendly trees. He ruined these men to save me. This weigher of men. He drew me behind a boulder lumped and pocked. Kirkwood strafing downhill from its cover.

From the wood line a rawboned boy-man darted out all hands and feet. No heirloom AK, no strapped explosives, but wielding a walking stick. He slammed the brass horsehead knob on my chest with wild force, snapping two ribs. He swung at Kirkwood’s legs from behind and hobbled him, and he clubbed Kirkwood’s helmet and sliced his hamstring with a hidden curved knife, felling the giant, and the scraggly conqueror twirled to me and raised the knife to spike my face, and some sprocketed piece of me projected the intervals between spearing, squirting, black. The boy slipped. The knife speared his thigh. He screamed and was on me, knees grinding my aorta, steel fingers on my throat, jamming his thumb into my bubbling underarm. The boy channeled life and snuffed it. In my fading his pureness blazed—this is my hill where we meet, where I rolled down dizzy as a child, and it is not me who stormed your baseball fields and splatted your family—and my bleating exposed my fraud—my Please, please, please, my tears—and he inhaled my submission and grasped a rock and so that would be how, but then Kirkwood arisen to his knees cupped the boy’s nape, and immobilized it, and in a fluid sweep he lifted the rag doll from its feet and exploded its face upon the boulder. Three times he hammered it. He dropped the deboned body. He contorted up. He limped over me and grabbed my collar and smiled, and then loosed two of my grenades into the wood line and hopped to the boulder and threw three more over it and called in our position. The hill stilled and throbbing.

Air hissed from the heap of the boy. His head flopped toward me. The shredded jaw chewed air like a wind-up skull, pooled blood spilled. The untouched eyes—emerald unworldly things—fixed on me. He’d seen my truestuff and we shared that secret. I aimed my sidearm at his face. What he had extracted could not be stitched back. I closed my eyes to test the shot. But before I fired Kirkwood kicked my arm and dislodged the gun and the pain ripped. He picked up the walking stick and straddled the boy, wringing the grip. This way was better. Pulp him, I said. Paint the grass. Kirkwood looked to the stick to the boy to the stick, his monster body heaving, his cheek paint-dripping, his leg disconnected.

Kirkwood dropped the stick and everything left me. He kneeled and with care and rolled the boy to his side. He applied field dressing over the gaping cheek. He placed it lightly over the spotting brain matter. He pressed on the impaled thigh. He gently rocked and intoned soft words and all the while looked through me. When the boy died Kirkwood laid him flat and smoothed the shalwar. He was silent when he lifted me and when I screamed from the movement, and he draped my good arm around his neck and we waited for the bird. The ketamine took me to the clouds. Kirkwood sat by the open door and rubbed his hands in his lap, his hands spongy and red, Kimmy’s photo within.

And so our war ended. We were home in a month. We never did later talk about the hill.

* * *

Rain fell at zero angle on the steaming golf grass. Jumpy golfers sped past for cover. I popped up and stumbled and laughed. Like after everything lightning would be how, fried in the middle of flat-ass Stryker golf course. I peeled off my shirt and the rain washed me. The day after returning from our first deployment Kirkwood and I drove Minotaur to Smith Lake at golden hour. Killers, now. We stripped to our skivvies and slipped in. Kirkwood bobbing there. We need something clean, Chief. He met Kimmy soon after, her thick, thick legs propped up on the golf cart. The Year of Kirkwood. She was his Boujee Birdie, and he tended her cage nicely, but she wasn’t ready for him, for the pull of his gravity. Months passed and it was Boujee Birdie this and Puppybutt that and he’d build them a cottage on the Outer Banks with a ballerina girl and a dirty-footed boy and a German Shepard to protect them all. She asked me to intervene: He’s pressing too tight. I told her we’d be gone again soon. I didn’t say anything to Kirkwood. Uruzgan was an inferno and we needed the giant fierce and clear.

I walked to Hole 12. It’s a 140-yard killer. A 130-yard pond separates tee box from the red pin flag. Respect the pond, Kirkwood said. In grand ceremony at the pond’s edge, he’d sacrifice one starship Enterprise into it and request our safe passage. The rules of engagement restricted us to pitching wedges from tees. Kirkwood eventually hit the green but I rarely bridged the expanse. I hacked through sleeves of my balls and some of his. Whoa, boy, Kirkwood would whisper before I swung. Steady now. It’s an itty-bitty kiddie pool. Mind the breath. If I cleared the water, Kirkwood whooped and ran laps around me like a prospector struck gold.

I stood at the edge of the pond. The red pin flag whipping. A tuliptree stood at the hole’s outer rough, its top branches thrashing, the thick lower limbs stretched taut. Cords of rain. It all knew my measure. I was best left on the hill. On the Friday night, Kirkwood called me already drunk and crying and I brought more whiskey. I pushed on the cracked red door. I hadn’t seen him since returning. The giant slumped forward on the couch and rocked and cried. Whoa, boy, I said. Steady now. I read the printouts then tore them. So now we both were gelded. What’s left, he kept repeating. Blackhole eyes. He’d tracked Papi that night to a strip joint parking lot and drunk Papi rushed him with a bat and smashed Minotaur’s headlights and Papi stumbled at Kirkwood and swung, and Kirkwood snatched the bat mid-swing and crashed it on Papi’s back and crashed it again and again and Kirkwood left him withered and wasted on the asphalt. Fuck them, I said. The relief was sublime—war seeds into all that wage it; now its rot blossomed from us both. I forced us to drink the whiskey. All we are is sacrifice, I told him. I patted his peeled cheek, slapped my bullet wound. Picking off pieces of ourselves. I squeezed his bowling ball shoulder and big-kissed my brother’s head. You go ahead and cry all you want. You cry for the both of you. Tomorrow we’re on the greens. You quit this shit by morning.

I propped my golf bag on its stand. Kirkwood hung himself in full combat gear. I knelt by the bag. He weaved the parachute cord through an eye bolt he drilled into the ceiling’s concrete beam. I unzipped the bag’s side pocket. A yokel staff sergeant taught nooses at the Q Course—Think ‘rattlesnake…Fashion you a S-snake at the midpoint, wrap the slack seven times and make the rattle, pull the loop, hang whichever sumbitch you hangin’. I handled the parachute cord inside the pocket and squeezed it and took it from the bag.

Beyond the pond, the tree line see-sawed, the swirled sky darkened and thundered and flashed, the blood orange sun throbbed behind it, the cauldron pond boiled and popped. The rain spoke and I could not remember when I started crying. Falling in its warm cadence and feeding the stretching lushness around me, it said as fact that I now stood outside that magic. That I could observe the magic’s colored curves and infinite circles but not yet again join it. It said that was my choosing and it would be respected and that there was no judgment but only consequence. I wept at that harshness and I wept for my brother and I wept for not believing there was magic in the choosing too. On the hill I would have been quiet at the end, proud and intact, dripping through the thirsty earth, the pinwheel sky falling. I was best left on the hill.

I threw up in violent wrenches. I bent over and emptied myself and lowered to all fours and cut my hand deep on a broken bottle at the pond’s bank and threw up more and wiped my mouth with the bloody hand. I wrapped the hand with the shirt and chewed some grass and spit it out and drank some rain. I sat there for some time pressing the hand, reigning the breath, accepting the crashing rain. The bleeding persisted. I clenched the noose and red tendrils streamed from the pain in the hand. Across the pond the red flag’s snap cut through the whirl and provided an anchor.

I sat in the storm.

Mind the breath, Chief.

I crossed my legs. There was drenched grass to breathe in and the air of flowers, and virgin light filtered through the locked clouds so that the tree and the pond and the spaces between them shone sharper like in the dreams of such things. I straightened by back to unhinge the chest.

Come out the other end loving every damn thing.

The course was cleared, and I sat alone, and I fixed on the flag and submitted my care to the wind and the rushing rain and the rumbling and I centered on the red flag, the red of the flag, the red. I inhaled and pushed out all, and there was only the red flag and my breath, and my corded attention tethered the two. Old thoughts perched on that tightrope and then fluttered away, and with eyes closed I warp-sped through forests of trees and through their branches hundred and thousands of them and through dark tunnels of trees narrowing in the distance to a red point.

The red door. Minotaur parked. I nudge the door. Kirkwood rocking on the couch. His face in his hands, his black hat low, Kimmy’s printouts on the table. I approach him in the dim room and show him the whiskey and begin as before, Whoa, boy, steady now. But I pause as I sit on the grass by the pond near the trees.

I revise.

I’m here brother. Squeeze his shoulder. What are we into? I make the whiskey Walden. When we’re not golfing or boozing, we often talk of books and we bring by one for the other sometimes. Henry must have golfed, I say. I tell him that reading about loons and ants might be just the thing. I choose deliberate actions, a slow pace, steady breaths, each I honor and do well. I sit next to Kirkwood. He points to the printouts. This time I do not tear them, but rather read every one as him. I am empty as Kirkwood. I see her enwrap the stranger and open her softness, and the sweat on the small of her back, they reach holy levels I cannot deny them, and they lie there joined and I sit on a rowboat bobbing in the wake of their liner sliding by. I pat his thigh hard. We’re good, I say. You go ahead and cry all you want.

I open the back sliding door for the airing. The air is lighter, cleaner. Gold light. I keep measured breaths and with every inhale draw in his heaviness and scrub it clean and transmute it to match the light and I release it as airy orbs then scatter them. Everything is steady and deep and even. Our pulses. The freshness pouring in and almost suspending us. I speak over him. In rhythm, in a richer voice than my own, to match the room and the pulses and the breath. You are a giant. You’re a giant and this is more food for you. Your body has been taken from you too before and you recovered, and so why now is this different whether it’s your body or rather it is someone who has taken something from you. I’ll walk through this with you. You pin its memory on your chest. You give it all to me.

Kirkwood sleeps slumped over. I focus on clearing the air and feeding the light with my breath. I sit there for hours in the room, and my breathing spreads in ripples, and I do my good work. There is more to give so I give it. The more I give to that place and scrub it to sanctuary the more supply I receive to give again. The room is gold and soft white and we burn to outlines of ourselves to join it. You’re a giant, I say. A giant, a giant and it echoes back and the notes form rings around us, these living rings revolving and whirling and kindling white flames. You’re a giant You’re a giant You’re a giant, and it ignites us to vapor both. You’re a giant. We inhale together, I control his breath, and we stay at its outer edge, sweet and full and unsustainable. We exhale all, the skin the bones the muscle the tissue the fibers and we remain there free and suspended and blazing, washed and alight.

We sleep. At the pond, the body was still—the braking rain washing it, the breeze freshening it—and inside my brother and I sleep.


Alone at a staircase—I must find my friend—steps of flesh—curved knives fling down— with teeth with bone—behind the door he swings—the steps multiply—my shot body spent, my legs snap—I will die on the climb—Let him know that I came for himLet him know—That I would have drug him out—I yield—the door opens—light lifts me through it—no dangling there —only the light milk white and the sound—an endless hum, concentrated—the sound flooding me and I am emptied and refilled with the sound—a face flickers on the wall. I know him. Cleaned and glowing, wrapped white like some desert magi intoning secret words, half-smiling like there’s one real joke and he its keeper. I may stay for as long as I need, for as long as the warming takes, to feed and sleep and wash and shed. All from me is dropped, all excess taken. There is somewhere deeper to go with him I know, some slice of time, some circle of experience, where we walk together again, two dervishes cutting millennia, whether in his dreams or mine or in the memory of those. But not now. The sound is the room and the room is as deep as you go. Now I slow the breath. The room is the cool morning now and the goodness it brings, its emptiness its evenness, it the well bottom between breaths. You sit for awhile. Listen for the drops and their echoes. All is well in the room. All has always been and will always be. There is an ache to empty into everything, to unzip from myself to know it better, to join it all on the slow exhale. Go now. Breathe in full and go and come again soon. He draws in a final breath and pulls out the rusted bullet and he suspends it before me, twirls it, and he blows as he fades away, light filtering through him. The bullet blasts from the room. It curves high and white across a blackcloth sky, a white phosphorus trail.

The floor opens.

I plunge into a casing. Rain beats it. The cold grass beneath it. Sheets of the world crashing around me. The crossed legs, the back straight, the chin out. I sit there while the world works, while leaves slip and drift for some scripted purpose, and I know nothing. Except that the hunch that the unknowing is good. I wish for it all to overtake me, for vines to wrap me and moss to bore through scalp and birds to peck my eyes, for my skin to slip and drift.

I open my eyes.

I stood in the storm. I lifted my bag and walked back to the tee box. I pushed five tees into the gooey grass in a ten-foot line and balanced on them the five starships. I unsheathed my pitching wedge. I lined on the first ball and looked across the pond. I saw the clean shot—a shot so high and soft and white against the slate sky with no resistance on the contact and sweet flight and the ball thudding on the smooth neon green.

I swung.

I swung in effortless rhythm like tugged by marionette string. The ball skyrocketed and shone against the black cloud relief and the physics of it etched my intended arc. It stuck six feet from the pin on the green pillow as the rain and the grass and the petals tossed and blew. I stepped to the second tee and swung the same, bending the ball tall and scraping sky and landing it this time four feet from its target, and I ignored the impossible mechanics of it all. Then I burst on the third ball with arms still revolving in grand circle and harnessed the momentum and swung and whooped at the rainmaker outcome before it came because there could be no other. I sent the fourth ball home with a water wheel swing before the third landed. It hit the pin and cut a hard angle to the downward slope. And then right on the fifth ball on its altar and slowing my breath in steps and voiding it, and in those vacuumed seconds pledging to Kirkwood that I was his friend and I loved him and that could not be taken from me not even by my failings. I was still and leveled on the ball and eased in still water breaths and rested there, though the rain thickened and the clouds crashed and out poured more of the marrow black. Whoa, boy. An itty-bitty kiddie pool.

I closed my eyes.

You get perfect shots occasionally and they aren’t judged by their outcome but by their feeling or rather their non-feeling through the contact and this shot was that. I swung and lightning ripped down and lanced the limb of the tuliptree, and right at my contact the thunderclap resounded and I cannot say which caused which, the swing or the bolt, but in the harmony I flung my pitching wedge up and it slipped into the pond then relenting in its eruptions. I raised my arms high and screamed as the wet wood crackled on the fringe. What the fingerprints on it would tell.

The rain thinned.

The thick air settled at my feet. I stood in the abiding freshness, among the temple’s sculpture trees, the temple’s ryegrass swaying like starlings in the wild corners. The birds, warblers or chickadees or however Kirkwood’s pocket bird book described them, called. Maybe for me. All was well in the room and I was emptied there and filled again and then struck the balls true and maybe the birds called for me.

I stood there breathing the grass, the smoke from the peace pipe tree.

What came to me came.

In a valley between the mountains we humped the rocky ground across the battered bowl-bottom. Kirkwood and I respecting the titan mountains, edge-of the-world mountains. Single file, bone-tired, giant Kirkwood first then me young-duckling-connected, inching across to or from some killing-place who can remember exactly, and where Kirkwood stepped I stepped and what Kirkwood softly sung I sung: Can’t-nobody-take-my-pride-can’t-nobody-hold-me-down-oh-no-I-got-to-keep-on-movin.’ We dropped our gear and fell on it inside a blown out stone structure, its roof long ago lifted, sections of its walls crushed, and I tossed a double peanut butter ration to Kirkwood—the You-know-I’m-the-alpha-here-you-look-me-in-the-eye-and-tell-me-I’m-not Kirkwood—and we hid in plain sight inside the Stonehedge in the middle of the flowered valley, Kirkwood and me, true-tired. I slept and woke silently and Kirkwood sat erect against his ruck, pulling in bottomless breaths. Kimmy hadn’t responded in months. He eventually came-to and picked a purple perennial and twirled it between his thumb and forefinger. He ate the flower to be it. He picked another tiny baby flower for his Kimmy and pressed it so tenderly into the filled ancient spice box, village-elder-certified to bring blessings. He turned to me. Sat in his stillness for some time. He smiled. One way or another, Chief, we’re going to fix that swing.

I rose with the breeze from the pond.

I shouldered my bag now lighter one pitching wedge. I walked to the tuliptree. I picked up the limb. Maybe the lightning strikes without me but maybe demigod vegan Kirkwood smote that tree to fashion me a magic staff and so I picked up the limb in the hope of that. Picking it up made it so and I folded that version into my pocket. The rod was pleasant-weighted like my air-dried thoughts and it rose two heads above me. I walked with it. The risk of not doing so was too great. I left the pond behind me and commanded the robot body to press down with the walking stick and it lifted the body through the slope of the grass toward the next fine fairway. The clean engine chest. You tease yourself in such moments. Your old-friend-self. You wonder at the really truly unspoiled pinpoint now-moment, bounding across the bunny-bed grass and beneath the stained glass leaves, you breathe in you breathe out, you stride the deep green fairway, you row your strong-self up through its rise to its emerald arrow tip, you lay your ball between walls of thickening black trees, black against the silvering sky, all behind their secret cover rustling and stirring in its own life, all everywhere humming. You swing.

Neville F. Dastoor’s fiction has appeared in HUMANUS and MILSPEAK and his nonfiction in the Harvard Human Rights Journal, Global Brief, The Army Lawyer, and elsewhere.  An active duty Major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, he has served in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean.

All characters and events in “IED” are fictitious, and any views expressed within are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.


At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

Follow Us On Social

Masters Review, 2024 © All Rights Reserved