I watched a soldier aim as the deaf boy took iron and fire in his mouth –
his face on the asphalt,
that map of bone and opened valves.
It was the air. Something in the air wanted us too much.
The earth was still.
The tower guards ate cucumber sandwiches.
On the first day
soldiers examined the ears of bartenders, accountants, soldiers.
I did not know the wicked things silence does to soldiers.
They tore Pavel’s wife from her bed like a door off a bus.
On the fourth day
we damn only the earth. And I no longer have words to complain
my God, and see nothing in the sky and stare up
and clearly I don’t know why I am alive.
Now we enter the city that used to be ours,
past theaters and gardens and wrought iron gates
Be courageous, we say, but no one
is courageous, and a sound
we do not hear lifts the birds off the water.

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