How

Some soldiers in a torn field
knew one of their number
was about to be eaten
by a monstrous maw
The final lunch hour was here
and its Shadow
the simple death
(just to be swallowed up)
but then
its complicated Shadow
you must not study

They absorbed that dark bread
of the thought
of their going
its moist springiness
fear like water
in tendons
pumped them up like boys
in a game of kicking
in a field

The beast was here
It crossed over them
Its shadow painted their bodies
as flames made
their canines glow
It circled around, lowered
its horned head
unfurled a long tongue
but as it came on
they castled like a chess player
hiding one of their number
with their own bodies
a tiny being
who they felt was magic
who must be protected
at cost of all heads
its weird trunk
its speaking trunk
must be
held back
a possibly historic guest
historic ghost
for some mysterious reason
they gave their lives
for something so unknown
to itself
they thought
it might actually be innocent
it could have been
worse
than even that flying thing
dripping blood
from torn jaws
but they were soldiers
so they only had
charred choices
to hold

every good soldier
is the same one

the cowards
carve out
differences

The War of the Face

I am mostly a mouth and eyes. Sometimes
in that order. Sometimes prudently not.
The one’s degree of openness is at my discretion.
It is an exercise in size. The others’ really not.
Sometimes, my mouth will think it sees something on its own
and go on a tear about it. Sometimes my eyes will try to talk.
It’s clear they want to be free agents, but are locked
into an ironclad contract. No way on earth to unsee
or unsay the damage these virtually conjoined ones have done
in a marriage where arguing all day, every day is the facial norm.
“Just because we see something, doesn’t mean you have
to say it,” my eyes chide my mouth. “And just because
I say something, doesn’t mean I need your little pupils
to back it up,” my mouth snaps back. So the entire face
suffers, in silence, the other senses like little children
cowering below the booming voices of those who run the house.