Entrenched

I slipped beneath the earth
and the wind pushed against me
like the bullet through a barrel
that would carry me away
the halting, screeching
doors opening
to carry us away

We wandered
I wandered
wondering
at Washington and Lincoln
how vast is this?
It looks so small
so trivial
from a distance
they look so small
so trivial
through time and space immemorial
different people
than the people I am today
different people
than the hands who built
the stone that surrounds me
running my hands along a pillar
thinking
how did they ever make this?

Twilight took us in her hands
and carried us
she carried us
past their bodies standing in tribute
perched for war
stone faces
alongside rivers capturing the light
a pool of reflection
a puddle dark of blood
spilled and not collected
the waters rushing, gurgling
choking lungs begging for breath
for remembrance
their ghastly images reaching through the night
are they just shadows upon the glass?
I place my hand upon the markings
feel my fingers dip into engravings
I feel my fingers on his face
as cold as stone
those shadows of Korea
still standing in the night

Beneath N.C. at World War II
we posed as typical tourists
for a picture
and at Vermont I threw myself on the ground
for another photo op
in Vietnam we leaned against their names in darkness
never knowing they were there
never knowing they had been there
all these names a memory
never ours
and as these hours
wane into the night
I wander
I wonder
at the war I’ve fallen under

I’m a solder now I realize
we all are
in a battle without bloodshed
tears of life and death itself
a fight that strips us our of clothes
our food
our privilege
throws our bodies on the ground
writhing in the weakness of HIV
choking on the blood of tuberculosis
malnutrition replacing education
leaving dust in my face
gazing over bodies
never born

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