just over the berm, no,
further, beyond the punched out bicuspids of Kandahar.
If there’s enamel to be scraped
do it on the far side
of mud walls until smoke rises like a preteen in fits—
in short bursts of sporadic fire on the other end of a television
clambering to tell vapid tales
of concussive blasts—
an echo of a telegram, dead
by the time it reaches, acres clear of nodding infantry,
as if poolside by poppy plants.
It’s best to keep it
Nope, not gonna’ get rope-a-doped
back into the material world of gunplay.
of another joking broken soldier unloading.
in the same ditch he finds his counterpart:
strokes from the cleft of the ear across,
shrapnel upending clean butcher slices
returning his pallet of bones to the stars they rose in.
This is not what sells. They say
if it bleeds it leads, but they insist upon ketchup.
Not the amber glow either of us were looking for.
We keep it locked in safety deposit boxes patrolled by Swiss guards
from a golden tray.