War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele


nights in a LAV turret
cigar after cigar lit,
contemplation is hand-rolled
savoured on tongue and lips,
until our mouth un-numbs,
maps unbend, then
we’re capable, can understand
iron filings, magnetized int
collected through recce,
collected through reflect, foot patrol,
big and little Ops.
through the Panjawaii,
the Dand districts in our head.

sometimes a lifetime
‘til the dragonfly that landed
gauzy chopper beneath our breast
can settle, still, against dusty war,
our must-keep-going-just-keep-going-
domestic blades, live metal hand grenades,
stinking wadi of tears that won’t dry up,
fucking fucking IEDs laid by lovers—
against our habit, to fly, to fly, to fly
fast and low bayonet desert sky,
the red zigzag,
flapping black Kuchi tents,
scattering wild camels scratching the earth
billowing children’s ragged clothing
in our ‘copter wake.

(“walk now” recce wrote to me)

sometimes we can’t/won’t believe
even as we cast hand-tied flies,
little tufts of tenderness refound—
feather, fur, gold, wound
softly around barb-less hooks
filed down to limit harm—
across rivers’ green skins,
our rod snapping, flashing
against Douglas fir, against skyline,
against rage, rage, rage.

sometimes, even as deep pools,
silvery with fingerlings, ripple us
it’s hard to believe in stillness
it’s hard to believe in reflection
it’s hard to believe in answers to hard-knock questions,
answers cut hard from the peaty earth, distilled, flasked
like Jura Superstition, Lagavulin, Laphroig
smokey, caramel, hard-won,
rite for mourning,
rite for celebration,
rite for contemplation,
taken out to sip
after a hot bath,
the waders, the filthy clothes hung.

sometimes it’s hard to believe
it’s over, it’s really over,
the war, us,
our Jacob wrestle
on the banks of the Cowichan river say,
our blessing ankled,
(the river grass is mermaid),

all of it,

sometimes it’s hard to believe
it’s finally done.

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled sometimes. It was posted here on April 23, 2010.


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