If Memory Dances Like the Wind

after Susan Musgrave

at night in a tent with forty-five other guys
you switch on your headlamp and pull the soul
out of your boot, the footbed –
everything you’ve had for all the months you’ve been
gone with your hand searching, fingernails picking at the corner
of the photo
until you’re able to look at it.

until you’re able to look at it
you build it up in your mind
every mission that your run
with your muzzle pressed the the small of a woman’s
back at the mess tent with the juices of a pseudo-American
burger running down your chin,
when the stones crunch under the tires
and Paint It Black sings you to sleep in the desert.

and Paint it Black sings you to sleep in the desert
after you’ve switched on your headlamp and pulled the soul
out of the small of a woman’s back,
everything you’ve had for all the months you’ve been
gone with your hand searching, fingernails picking at the corner
of your boot, the footbed –
until you’re able to look at it
at night in a tent with forty-five other guys.

20120409-234125.jpg

The 101st

After the soldiers leave, Farha
And her three daughters and her two nieces and her mother
Spend a week cleaning the house
That has a hole where the door used to be.
They take all the china from the cupboards,
Pile it on the floor, on the table, on the counter;
It takes them two days to wash them.
Then, they put the vases to bed on the sofa
And, sitting in a circle on the floor, they all find a job
And soon the vases are clean.
They spend two days washing every piece of fabric
From every cupboard, every drawer.
They spend a night wiping all the walls,
Hours sweeping the floors.
But when Farha can’t find her burkas she realizes
This house will never again be her home.

(And in twenty minutes, the Airborne’s
Undone it all again.)

P.W. Singer: Wired for War

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