A Grammar for War
After a day when reports of casualties
crackle out of the car radio,
pursuing me as I enter the house at dusk,
eyes wide with seeing,
ears fitted with knowledge
I know neither how to hold nor let drop,
I lay keys on the kitchen table
and scan the air wishing
again I could invent
a lexicon for grief.
If language could recover losses,
words might offer solace
the way a flock of geese follows
a preset trajectory of flight,
the way dawn’s arrival restores the ginkgo’s
mottled shades of green,
the way the mockingbird sings its song,
conjugating the squandered night.
from This Strange Land (Farmington, ME: Alice James Books, 2011).