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,

or madness.


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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