Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Dreams May Come

from Brian Turner's wonderful "Phantom Noise":

Illumination Rounds

Will the girl find a bed among stones?
Will the fighter find a trench?

-Saadi YoussefParachute flares drift in the burn time
of dream, their canopies deployed
in the sky over our bed. My lover

sleeps as Iraqi translators shuffle
in through the doorway- visiting
as loved ones might visit a hospital room,
ill at ease, each of them holding
their sawn-off heads in hand.

Wordless, they wait for me
to dress in my desert fatigues,
my aid pouch with painkillers

of little help in sewing the larynx back,
though I try anyway, suture by suture.


She finds me at 3am shoveling
the grassy turf in our backyard, digging
three feet by six, determined to dig deep.
We need to help them, if only with a coffin.I say, and if she could love me enough
to trust me, to not cover her mouth
in shock or recognition, her hair lit up
in moonlight; if she could shovel
beside me, straining with the weight
each blade lifts in its gunmetal sheen,
then she'd begin to see them - the war dead -
how they stand under the lime trees and ash,
papyrus and stone in their hands.She stares at these blurry figures
in silhouette, the very young and very old
among them, and with a gentle hand
stays the shovel I hold, to say -
We should invite them into our home.
We should learn their names, their history.
We should know these people
we bury in the earth.

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