A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
I go for days forgetting these pictures –
bare brown bodies stained and curled
on cement floors or cowering in a corner,
the dog’s teeth more real than the man’s terror,
which we know from history will likely
deaden into numbness in the man, then turn,
grow menacing as an improvised
explosive device. I go for days forgetting.
In war, in the aftermath of war
bridges collapse into rivers, sense
into nonsense, bodies into meat –
offal on the slaughterhouse floor.
Another man, imprisoned here nine years –
shackled days, electric chair sizzling
in anticipation. The state was mistaken,
it seems, pays the man money.
He struggles to rebuild the bridge
of his life collapsed into those years.
He is a big man who tells his story
every day and every day he cries.
I don’t remember his name
from the newspaper. I don’t
know the names of the Iraqi men
in the pictures I go for days forgetting.
copyright 2015 Sarah Browning