28 May

Bush: “This confrontation is willed by God…”

Evasive Action

by Charlie Smith

…the clipped possessive moment, the barber on his porch
cutting his son’s hair, who looks for a second straight into the sun
and then back at his son’s head now a golden, nodulous remnant,
a flower if he likes or Lenin’s bumpy skull, he puts his scissors down
and goes inside and apologizes to his wife, who doesn’t understand,
but who accepts his words like a private harvest she’s storing up,
and then the son, who’s going into the army, comes in, half cut,
and sees them and thinks he understands years of bickering,
but doesn’t, and goes on to the battlefield where he writes his sister
saying we are not far from the truth of things, watching beyond his hand
two scorpions pick at each other, and thinks of days by the river, of his
father recovering from cancer, singing a song his grandmother memorized in…..Vienna
and his father, who hated his own mother, cursing her, revoking the song,
and the next moment he’s blown apart and then sent home in a metal coffin
and the parents and the sister get up early on the day of his funeral
and eat breakfast silently on the porch, and this is going on barber after barber.

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