Thursday, August 06, 2015

[Poem] Our Dinner with Cluster Bombs, 2003

Our pilot packs a Makarov
Flying into the outskirts
Of the old province capitol
Long since delivered to kingdom come.

It’s bleak, this once-thriving home of ours
Now just a pile of broken jars
Serenading the paint chips and charred spars
Of the human spirit.

Our hotel is ringed with bomb-tails
And inert Browning machine guns from distant days
Of immolation.

It’s all the rage in décor.

The markets of carcass thrive because
There is no refrigeration to speak of:
Power fails them here, except from 5 to 11
When coincidentally, the best state-run TV is on.

The hills pulse with rank ghosts no one wants to mention.

These roads are emblems of narrow and nothing.

When it is time to eat, we have no difficulties finding
Empty seats, cracking, astral in their depths.

Our hostess strikes a match heavy with sulfur.

In the glow, we see their candle holders here:
Rusty yellow cans with brass fins and screw-on tops
Delivered direct from American aviation, yet flawed.
Failed agents of flame and whirlwind now somewhat tamed

Their menace barely noticeable
As she serves us her cream of mushroom soup.
She swears it’s a local favorite these days.

We don’t have the heart to compare it to Campbell’s to her face.

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