~after Derek Walcott
At the end of this sentence, there will be an explosion.
At the explosion’s edge, a soldier who will see
it’s not just blood that leaves his body.
Wind is made from his suffering.
Now, the war is nearly finished—into trees
return white-bodied birds, a strange
new air entering brachial limbs.
steal hair from the helmets of our dead
for nesting. Loud is the passerine
sky, the lightning clouds like blood
backed into a syringe’s barrel—black, despite the living,
the white center of fire.
In dreams of Baghdad, infirmed, I do not rise.
Flames lift like an organ note; the horizon
darkens rung by rung, light given, light taken,
that old argument, the clouding, unclouding
of the sun. To walk, in dreams of Baghdad,
I use Lazarus’ knees: femoris, medialis,
his sinews, red hinges that once bent faithful.
To speak: his throatskin, the raindark shingle
of his tongue. His prayers come easily: one
grey, one still, one breath, nearing his last,
and in the sky, the still Euphrates, the flare’s
white and narrowing burn. In dreams,
the stone is rolled away from his tomb, night
behind, night within, the long gaze through
obscurity, stars: lightships on black water.
In dreams of Baghdad, I hear suffering wind
pendulate, pendulate in fronds, the zoo’s iron
cages; lions stir from sleep to vigil; soldiers call
them soldiers. When I die in dreams of Baghdad
I do not die, but rise, resurgam, my lover
too; her words sound, wake, and a hundred
more for begin again.