Walking to Bart

We speak of our fathers’ traumas,
the orchid ripe smell of sorghum wine
mixed with cheap cigarette smoke.
The lives lived that we could never.
My father says he loves this country,
speaks of cannon balls he had to fire
at Chinese ships, accuracy necessary
to miss, he tells me this is the illusion,
scare them without touching them. The fate
of a country lives in his anxious fingers.
He speaks of the cadet that ran into the mountains
with a machine gun believing a broken heart
could only be mended with moving lead.
They searched through soft green leaves,
until they heard the weeping of a boy
scared to pull the trigger.