War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

Sometimes (2nd draft)


sometimes 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 Panjwayi,
the Dand, the Helmand 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-
blue-eyed 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 writes
from his own desert


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 collateral
damage—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 through 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.


sometimes answers are cut from peaty earth,
cubed, pure-water filtered, distilled,
flasked like a Jura Superstition, Lagavulin, Laphroig
smokey, caramel, hard-won,
rite for mourning,
rite for celebration,
rite for contemplation,
poured, sipped, swallowed
slowly, slowly,
after a hot bath,
the waders,
our salt-stiff clothing,
washed and 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.

About This Page

The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled Sometimes (2nd draft). It was posted here on April 25, 2010.


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