(ricochet: ghazal)

here, soldier, is a parentheses to hold together your body.
I give you light in coiled veins, tell you to render body

but blood bleaches the god right out of these hands
and yet you clasp them like moth wings in prayer: still-bodied,

quiet except the poppies swaying in their stupid blankness
so white you want to scream target and surrender body.

the way children know to close their eyes before crying
mother—no woman would touch you now. enter body

of water and hold your breath strangle-close. look, this is where
the grass ends and the sky gapes wide enough for an error body

count: as you lie face down in dirt, waiting for tomorrow to dissolve
each shot’s recoil. how metal knows fear in its own eager body

but not another’s. how each night’s sleep is hewn from bullet-spattered
dreams: your lips mime firecracker, faceless, fallen, feather, body.

homesick, homeless. nothing is free, least of all this country—
to be good for nothing—is that too much to ask, o trigger, body?

boys craving honor only to carve out shards of bone, yellowed echoes
smeared across the newspapers and fluorescent screens of every body.

yes, here is light—but all that’s left is the fire of a world turned inside out
and nothing, dear soldier, as a means of redeeming your body.