Gritty Details

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tonight's Poet Corner: Before Bombardment

Before Bombardment
by Belinda Roddie

Details, scrawled out in
militant rows, with dirty uniforms,
dead guns, and snakes made of ammo
hissing at the sunset. Numbers in
a computer that only runs when you
plug it into the source.

In the trench, I pull you toward me.
The brass buttons on your jacket
are sticky. Your braided cap hides
the crescent moons of your eyes.

Here, we huddle and heat each other
up with our bodies, our fragile bodies,
our shaking, stuttering bodies. Words
tremble in our stomachs; they threaten
to rise up like yellow bile. Here, for
a while, we do not hear the rockets
or the bombs. The dragons are sleeping,
and so we simply breathe on one another's
faces instead of reciting our prayers.

Beyond the front line, the generals meet
again. Their suits are clean, and they
wear no hats. Their heads shine brighter
than the smile of a warhead's heat shield.
They do not laugh, but they think
about mirth filling their champagne
glasses and their dishes of hearty stew.

You say you love me after the rain
comes. I believe it. The photographs of
our families are warped and waterlogged
as the night threatens to strangle us.

It makes no sense to focus on the details
now. Not the cold bones of bullets
adding to our skeletons. Nor the slight
snoring from our comrades. Nor the wet dirt,
or the sleeping rifles, but your lips are warm.
Your hands are warm. Your tears are warm.

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