Crouched before dismantled guns,
we found war souvenirs
my brother padlocked in the attic,

a brittle latch easily pried off.
Stiff uniforms on top, snapshots
of soldiers young as our cousins,

a velvet box of medals,
as if he fought all battles
in World War II. Bayonets, machetes,

a folded flag, two hand grenades
with missing pins. We picked up teeth
like pennies, loose, as if tossed in.

A piece of something dark and waxy,
like a fig, ridged like a question mark,
a human ear. We touched green pieces

of cloth stuck to curved bones,
and held them up to the light,
turning them over and over.

This Issue

October 12, 1989