Wednesday, May 6, 2015


The tank crew put their gear back on.
Before the treaded wheels splintered down the last of the fence posts,
the one with the grease in the creases of his hands smiled at me as he pulled up his pants.

"Raise my kid right," he said in his heavy accent before hauling himself up,
graceful as an acrobat,
onto the turret where he sat like a sultan as the thing began to move.

Where the hollyhocks had been, there were now trenches of churned-up earth.
It will be easier to bury my dog, the herder,
who they shot as casually as waving across the field to a neighbor.
I think my wrist is broken.
I can't see out of my left eye, but perhaps it is only the blood drying over it.

Years from now, in another country,
a graceful child will swing himself up the bars of a playground castle,
waving to me from the top before his proud smile fades.
He will ask me why I'm crying, and it will only be half a lie
when I answer that it is because of him and my gratitude
that God has blessed me with such a son.

Then he will smile again and cross his arms,
looking out across the schoolyard like a sultan,
the very image of his father
and the great things that men create from their most casual of actions.

Please. Please. Can't we stop killing each other?


TexWisGirl said...

my, word...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Such an intriguing story. I like the tie-in between the father and son, each looking like a sultan, across the years......"raise my kid right." Wow.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

From yor lips to the goddess's ears.

Shadow said...

Disturbing. In a good way.

hedgewitch said...

There is a sense of reality to this that is ugly, cutting and intense--that these things happen we know, but how little they would seem to lend themselves to poetry or art of any kind--the shattering, the injustice, the pain, the negation of beauty and order--yet that is maybe the only way to deal with them that means anything. Frighteningly true feeling to this, Shay.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Such a powerful narrative of the destructive path some men gouge out if the earth and through the lives of other people - works on the literal, figurative and historical level.

Sara said...

This is a powerful write and your question at the end made me sad because I'm not sure we can stop.

Perhaps this is the challenge God gave us. We have a choice. We can keep hating and killing each other until annihilation or we can grow enough to find that kindred light glowing inside all of us.

For some reason, this makes me think of the Hollies' song, ""He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Breathtaking in its scope, powerful in sentiment. Excellent. - la la Mosk

Mama Zen said...

This is so powerful, Shay, with all it says and your brilliant use of leaving things unsaid.

Daryl said...

powerful and touching .. you are a mistress of words, my dear