Kirkuk

after Ilya Kaminsky

Let us wash our faces of this dust and forget how the dirt collects in our wounds.
Let the women mourn the way they have never had the time to mourn their men.
Let their men kneel on the roof, clearing their throats, and know those are not guns in their hands
but telescopes, they want to see the universe unfold without a bang.
Let our hearts beat fast without pulling our triggers.
Let there be room for doubt.

What is silence? Something of the sky in us.

We are on our bellies in this silence, Lord.

20120401-044334.jpg

Advertisements

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.)

How many wrongs can I write?

The Return

inspired by Clinton’s post earlier this morning.
after Andrei Platonov.

On the morning he comes home
Regret folds through her body like hips
Undulating under a slave driver’s whip
And there is nothing for her to say except

I’m sorry

and nothing for her to do but to hope
it is enough
like the clouds hope the wind
is enough
like the dust hopes the sun
is enough
to pull from the soil what water
there once was hope
in the water they drank
but now there’s only the sting
of salt that they imagine
between sips of conversation
stinging in the wounds he wishes
he’d received because it would
give her a reason to care for him
like God used to care for His children.

Regrets

“my only regret
is not having the courage
to have any.”

– an email from a friend of mine when he got back stateside.

Oedipus Wrecks

Before you get deployed
Cut out your own eyes.
They’ll still send you
But you won’t have to see what you’ve done.

July 3, 2007. Fallujah

I don’t give a fuck about America.
America don’t give a fuck about me.

Squared Away

Salvation

for Heidi Kraft

in the second before the bomb
fell from God,
he felt himself slip from
the Lord’s embrace
as only a favourite son can
slip from his father’s arms.

it happened in slow motion.
he could see only the child
and hear only the sound of his rifle
giggling.

he waited a long time to die,
but death was something
he could only look at,
his Sergeant stopping him from
getting too close,
a mother tugging at her son’s bloodied shirt.

%d bloggers like this: