Friday, January 30, 2009

Now the River

Oh, but listen: down the far side the scrunch
of soldiers' feet in scree. Here is all the quiet
that a heaving chest can manage. Here
for five minutes, the war is over.

Listen again:
here and there. Fingertips pulled over
soft warm flesh.

Soft, pulsed nursing
At that little hooded nub of flesh,
Rose red in the dusk: trembling, ticking over
like a tiny bird
in a thicket at sundown.

Swans rear up indignantly, bugling
and sparring; beyond them the river runs away;
the cars on the bridge open their eyes wide
and bring on the night they are trying to dispel.
The rust-red steel clenches both banks, darkening
to old, clotted blood.

Unstranded, unbuckled, unworded
Love-sucked, undone, unmade, unmanned.
A husk in the starlight, turned backwards at the ends;
My hair falls loosely, as the wind blows it
here and there.

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