The Abiqua

After years of wandering the battle fields,
I have found some old landmarks at last.

I found a standing stone by the Abiqua river, bankfull by wild sorrel,
surrounded by the shouts of summer’s children

and another in the study
where your father finally fell,
tired beyond tears.

There is the low stone wall that held the skirmish line
next to the all knowing funeral home

and the little house
where the daylight raid

on the family heart
left hands and eyes burning.

There is the swamp
where a child was lost

and the sinkhole
where the regimental underbelly

was prey for a well respected jackal
and blood cinema played in the dreams of deer.

Your soldiers have served you well.
Your borders held.

Alas, my beloved,
after all those campaign years

of field exercises and rolling
deuce and a halfs at dawn,

your enemies,
long dead under sod,

are still counting their loot
in the boat house by the river

until you rise up by the watch fires
of your circling camps

and ram a pitchfork through them
with your own moist eyes.

–Burl Whitman

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