The Final Speech

The fletchers of iron have paraded
Their tent cities into our streets.
They hawk plastic home wares, barter
with urchins and housewives for castoff
copper wires, silverware, rusted pipe.
At the center of their veins secrets
pull them ever tighter, always more patient.
While we fade to a memory of borders
they seek the mechanical heart
that powered us, and once we fall
their commerce finally will end.
The flesh of death eyed in a needle
has carried so fare and now will repent.

In the village of my heart I am twelve
forever, forever hunting glances
of my neighbor’s lovely sister.
She is full but unmarried, aging
as she spends days walking naked
through the emptiness of their daytime house.
Across her throat a chain bears my initials,
and in the dark hair of her body
I take a razor to my baby face.
War has yet to find her window.
Artillery yet to stutter my legs
with a speech about the duty
born from the loins of every man.
I know only the stiffness of love,
defeat of distance in my body
and a dream of my mother, long dead—
she sews a ring into each of my nipples,
promises she will return for my nose.
As she gave, so will she lead me away.
Next door the woman is dressed so quickly
I imagine I imagined it all.
But she has not known peace, and together
we await the couplings of life,
its many silent joys and the certain
bare melody of its conclusion.

Even now the men without bodies
press their seed into dead women.
The hills where we once raised children
wear to plains easily surveyable,
and we are no longer defensed.
Let God come, the people pray. In darkness
we begin to wind the clock springs
marking the sunset of motion,
the open door where lovers meet to tear
hearts in unison from each other’s breast.
We undress to flesh, free of magnetic
anatomy and dreams of the future.
In uncompassed space
the taste of detonation is a city
spread high and square on the horizon,
where fleecers of carrion have descended
in tiny clouds to make it clean.
By consumption all separates, and when
I ease my hands from the slowing wound
we’ve fought so long to suture
there ring forth hosannas, dry in the heavens
and peaceful with the wailing of earth.