For now the war is silent,
folded on the coffee table, inky smudge
of smoke, young man's dark eyes
left to stare at the ceiling.
Tomorrow he'll be recycled.
There are many ways to disappear
but we've planted ourselves right here.
We've painted our living room red,
hung mountains on the walls
and trees and clouds,
a few slender boats like the slimmest of moons
rocking on gray water.
Tenderness and Slaughter
I've named my two hands. Sometimes
I enter the meadow and follow it
into birches there above the couch
where the yellow leaves stir
and feathery grasses brush at my skin.
Another mission, my son straps in.
He flies in darkness—
harder to track him that way.
There are good ways to disappear
but my heart is a desert. He moves
through a heat rising up, a rug
he must breathe through.
And I can't subdue
the room inside me, the way it murmurs
like a stony stream, what if, what if...
When I switch off the lamp, its filaments
crack and pop.
Night's river of pictures will not stop.
I hold a white cloth and gently wash
an infant's face. I'm picking up stones,
weighing their heft, their talent for damage.
For hours I look for lost luggage, trudging
through a city of bells, ringing and ringing,
gold domes, and rubble in the streets.
Within me's a room of red heat
and things that float like bats, all shadow.
We don't talk about fear
but we've painted our living room red.
The mantle's bone white
and the clouds rushing over that lake,
they're splitting open; I watch them break.