Grow old. Buy a house. Have a baby. Love someone.
Sometimes there are substitutions. An historical torque
pulls us away. A dearest beloved—in a harbor, trench, or house—
lies begging for morphine (just fucking do it,
the best place is in the neck!). Runaway? Fight the power?
“Oh, she was a good girl.” “His daddy was enlisted.
The apple don’t fall far from the tree.”
After operations south,
the soldiers are sleeping now, in various postures of weariness,
on an oriental carpet—knees tucked into their chests,
arms touching one another—everything all interwoven,
like something abstract deep within us—
a soul, maybe—bare-knuckled, but delicate, too,
like a scissored-out black cameo held up
to the light before it is cut deeper.

This Issue

October 9, 2008