The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Kimberly Glanzman
After Three Years Over There, My Brother Has These Dreams
They gather. We dread their foreheads
rising like rusted moons over the sand,
rifle barrels blurred behind their shoulders
in the heat. On the other side of the dust-storm,
we wrap the blisters on our trigger fingers
with duct tape.
Days from here,
the wives bend over the bodies
of lost boys. The blood makes good dye
and the ribs are the right shape for a sink.
Like crickets back home, the singing stops
when we get close enough to hear.
Fickle dunes. We bed down on top of a mountain, wake
in a depression. Swift as sunrise, their rifles come to rest
in the hollow of our necks. They hang us by our heels and wait.
One digs a fire; another pulls out a flute. The soles of our feet
burn. The kids get bored and poke our stomachs
with sticks; our grunting slides into the song.
When we scream our hearts fall
from our mouths.
It never rains. At night the wind
tastes like the salt of oceans but it must be:
days without bathing, biting through our tongues,
eyes watering beneath stars bright enough to char here,
Desert crawls between each blink, swims through
our ears, jigs into our lungs. In every sigh we breathe:
cornstalk rattle, cat scratching the screen, the groan of a bike
braking, dust gathering, a lie. Ahead,
the heat shimmers ghosts out of our eyelashes.
We leave no footprints in the bruise-yellow twilight.
The canteen saves lives. Lieutenant said
In the desert, the only thing more important to keep
is your head. Liar.
When he died he let go of everything but his gun.
We walk the road as if a tightrope. The sun pours
shadows over our feet. Every step a coin toss.
Heads we keep moving.
Tails we run.
my brother, i wish you were a ghost
i wish you were a ghost so you could haunt me.
a skeleton of scrape & splinter, i forget
the years you held your raincoat above
my bed, a slippery see-through shield.
i forget you holding my hand in the market
in Madrid, minutes before you lost me in
fruit-smell and dark-sliding-down-skin.
i forget the flight of birds beneath my ribcage.
a red sun climbs over the horizon like a wounded bear
and i remember: your eyes float out to sea,
broken pieces of stained glass cutting down the tide.
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