Ode to William R. Wells
PFC 331 INF 83 DIV
Kentucky, July 4th, 1944

This is the moon we sink our hands into,
craters spiral under tentative footsteps
weightlessly moving from the sea,
silent as dark stars, burning in our guts,

Beneath an American flag the coastline
bides quiet as a promise. Terrifyingly still,
having been mourning for nearly eighty years,
swallowing sorrow and foreigner’s flowers.

We are trespassers to a great tragedy,
looming around the edges of a memory
we do not own. Passed down through bone,
the saltwater in our blood thins to a whisper.

We’ll picture their bodies, surrendered to only tide
and god. Did he watch, did he kneel on the backs
of every dove that will not sing? Much larger
than all tragedies, we’ll picture their lives.

The million shattered relics dissolving 
through the turning of hands, through 
mothers missing sons, through poppies
on the outskirts of Omaha, bleeding wind.

The clouds come with condolence, the skyline
folds over her every wound where angels 
came through. Angels, in the hills, on the bluffs
watching the wheel turn, watching the end come.

The wildflowers do not deal in war, only dream
of centuries they’ve never touched. White butterflies
obliviously kiss every bomb crater, wandering ghosts.
Come light on our palms, let us remember.