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Fall 2005

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Soldier's Things
Lea C. Deschenes

"and this one is for bravery / and this one is for me / and everything's a dollar / in this box" -Tom Waits

Alone, I am möbius strip repeating:
no peace without you come to table.

Accept my bandage flag of scabbed and muddied white.
Do what you must. Name your terms.

I'll confess to any atrocity, sin or sackcloth
or re-envision me as generic: Consumer girl. Pills and soap.

Lay your sweating nightmares at the foot of my bed,
exiled from this place, once homeland,

now razor boundaries of clotted churn—a ghoul deli, now—
this land forged from the glance of all its founders.

I swore protection by my bandaged throat and bad right hand.
I swore loyalty like Juliet, upon your name.

You ate breakfast to tv shotgun clips, miles removed
while I huddled in agnostic foxholes holding imaginary lines.

I could never scorch your home to the earth crying victory.
You are too precious to split for tinder.

Be content with how foolish you were not:
Your wise, shut mouth. The benison of your bare shilling.

I love like swords' shaping between hammer and anvil:
Forcefully. Flattening. Violent. Balanced in your hand.

Bless me for attempting to harrow the field,
although I was not shaped well for this service.

Tend these poppy-red rows, letters from the front:
spare change tossed in a box for a dented purple heart.

Carve your leaders into every blank space.
Call me your monument. Write the books.