War Is Not Over When It’s Over

War Is Not Over When It’s Over

Before the wars stabbed us in the veins
before the narcotic of violence bloomed all the trees bloody
my father held me, in a hand that never once held a gun
the bounty of love shriveled up in the coronas of bombs.

Wilfred Owen said to beware the Old Lie
but boys marched in the echoes, girls raised their eyes
so were the ships of iron knelt in the sands with holes cut in them
so were the beetles and soils turgid with fill.

The buttoned up men came to my door
I said, “No, not I.” and hid my shame in a bow
the country fed on unwillingness as much as it fed on willingness
there was no moral universe left to rest in.

No one slept those years
the tsunamis of battalions came, drowned all the truth and dreams
the hammers hit the red gluttonously, the weapons got forged
in the wheel of relentless jingoism and pedantry, we lingered.

My sister stopped her menstruating
so hollow she could not make life, nor love, nor eat
My brothers are all dead somewhere on those flattened scapes
with yellow and purple faces sagged, victimized.

I say to my paramore, “Let the lead balloons have me.”
succor of the daffodils seems so sweet. When in the rank heat
I’d plunge my head into the buckets of brown water
open my woeful mouth and breathe.

“No one knows us.”
the last words of my mother before she got rolled over.
Is there anyone out there who still hears and cares, I ask of you
to read this poem aloud for me.

The wars won’t end. As I walk to the grocery and back
ghosts torn and hobbled build new temples
to lay their wounded hearts, and the beasts
will feast on the soured muscles and grow strong again.

Again and again, oh God, again.

First published in i am not a silent poet January 2019. This is this poem’s first time appearing on this blog or anywhere else.

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