I sent my heart to military school
to learn its white tees, its raven
cocked boots. I want it to know the nickel
bounce of a monastic day, the beast
needle of morning bucket duty.
Maybe between night maneuvers
and the medic’s tent
a little light might chip through.
Dear heart: It’s been rough
in these skewered rooms. Blank-strange,
how your own click-rhythm can sound
like Taps, or the lips of the boy
in the lake.
Dear Soldier: There is nothing
more crucial than respect for
one’s four-chambered piece.
Enter the Chaplain.
Do you want all of this?
Do you know to want this?
The want being locked ammunition.
It is basecamp quiet. The rounds
have done what they do.
It takes years after release,
the sir, no sir,
maybe a solo at sunrise.
It takes recoil with the
breath of a glove,
to find the safety’s position again.
The Disappearance Squad
They came knocking again with their wooden thumbs. I line up your body with my body, comb my hair over your eyes. When they open their dark bits you no longer mind. It's spider's-ear dark, inside-out-foghorn dark, blind bullies in back alleys dark. Dark so tight it's hospital-cornered. They have pulled the doors dumb-shut, I take out the stitches on the bulbs, lay everything luminous (windows, noon) on the tracks. "Deeper dark," you would have called this but you’ve gone off with dark's hazardous orange cousins, dark's old camp friends, the pried-open-features of old lovers dark. They’ve traveled so far their switches still tingle. “The real road to healing,” some sign insists. They have moved you from the room, they have moved you from the wheels. My hands are still sore from pulling up billions of tiny spikes. I would be incapable of experiencing any other loss for years. I would mistake this for destination. I would mistake this for safe.