blog description

Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dedicated to our glorious war dead

Because there lie between us
Hundreds of miles of sleeping fields,
Collapsing barns,
Desolate railroad crossings,
Solitary grain elevators,
Armfuls of birds ascending from
telegraph wires,
And depthless blue ponds staring
blindly at the sky,
I spend too much time with your
written words,
As sparse and sere as leaves left
on November trees,
And your digital daguerreotype,
The one you made for someone
You look into the camera in sepia:
Thin-lipped mouth in crooked smile,
long black hair,
A hardened soldier of many
All you need is a forage cap and
To have been part of some Irish
regiment decimated at Gettysburg.
But I think of you alive --
The smell of burning leaves on your
freckled skin,
And the taste of ginger molasses
in your mouth
As you plunged valiantly through
the parted gates of heaven.
Now, war widows return alone to windswept
farmsteads or
Faded-brick Italianate houses on
the edge of town,
There to impale themselves again
and again
On the bayonet of remembrance,
So they can finally be stunned,
like Paul at Damascus,
By the blood-red garnet sunk deep
inside that will sustain them.

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