What mattered in early wars
was the cavalry marching through
deep muck, the fife & drums,
stern ravens, words called out
across small, stagnant ponds.
They tell us every landscape longs
to be a battlefield. Someone
fires a cannon the size of a cave,
and we watch as shockwaves
italicize the trees. We, the living,
try channeling the original grief.
But this battle is nothing like
I thought it would be. I have little
idea what it takes to hold a field,
why someone might like to dress up
as the dead, those blown forward
in a crowd of men. Quick fuse:
young man with a bandage
and a period gun sings an anthem
from the archive, steps through
a cloud of cannon smoke.
White sight. A horse-drawn
darkroom rumbles by. A butterfly
flags. The gods never arrive.