Friday, November 8, 2013

The Six Day War

[for M.L.]

and on the first day he has headaches in his navy, confused as a boy thrown into war
with white coat big words and 
an officer pressing military medals on his chest
searching for a pulse. 
he sees the battle, he sees his life counted in months and
an honorable expiration date.

on the second day they draw an atlas of his
lobes for him in Middle Eastern sand. 
they tell him that his body is a Holy Land and belongs to two tribes and neither of them
are his. 
it doesn't seem fair to be a boy one day and a
soldier the next.

on the third day he sees each I.V. drip as a canon hit, 
his flanks bleed on the sheets and splinter
the kidneys in his bow.
the Gaza Strip has metastasized.  
they push back the front lines as each territory is

on the fourth day they lose the circulatory conflict in a firestorm and
Cancer wins the Red Sea. 
the sky is no longer safe,
each MRI 
looks as a passing plane.

on the fifth day they draw up the Treaty of Two Weeks and he is 
no longer afraid. 
the final march begins, 
he is ready to go home.

it takes six days for a war to be lost.
you have the roundest eyes i have ever 
seen and i trust you almost immediately, 
you have carried more caskets than your callouses would imply.
folded flags are tucked into your sheets, a memorial 
for broken clouds
it takes six days for a war to be lost and you have seen many wars.
i feel bad for those who will never get close enough
to see all the medals on your chest.

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