I am death myself falling over the leaves the waters the particles of every silence.
In the trenches with your ghost, I became. I became ghost among the men.
I lived with you mostly, there, among disjointed incidents.
I never wanted to be a lesser hero. As a stranger, I came among you. Prepared for the place you were headed. Truth is only alive when there is witness. The true thing is found only in the body. It surely waits to move.
At night we heard killing sounds catch along the road’s shallow chalk lines. My horse, a good horse, walked backwards. Backward, over the graves of the living, we walked into the second battle where I found you.
I am the ghost you asked to stay. I am to assuage your guilt, but I said no.
I am a person of no importance.
It is hard now to read people’s circumstance. I’ve lost motivation for how I am to see life.
We were the punished and would never answer to the land.
I remember his face as he moved quickly. I remember you, my enemy.
At sea level the warship was a spectre. Luminous at one moment, eternity’s termination the next. She couldn't see the recording of it’s lines on the horizon, a white wake among waves. No towering.
We’re all likely murderous. –she said--
The force slips through your mind. It arrives the moment you look down the barrel and know someone will not come back alive. You might cut and leave— you think. – But for a while, for a while what’s normally, plainly said, must stay inside. What stays inside is an attention to movement. A secret word thrashes. No one will get to it. No one will hear it. Not even you, though it bangs its knuckles against your skull.
You said it would hit me, the shoreline, the waves sheen. I no longer knew what was true. A cross-out Saturn, the waves, with their silvers and touchings. One is made by thoughts and then in my thoughts I knew. I couldn't carry the space between the body and the memory of the body. The earth swam with you as you swam among the shadows.
The illusion of a sphere came to her, and with it, the splendour of repair which held within it a dark mineral, a carbon imprint. Her whole face turned slightly farther than in profile. Her eyes followed the speed of the pallid boat.
Once you and she were just two people walking into the clear night. You gaze into a dream of the street’s end. You stood in the meadow.
You stood before the equestrian-gray house where smoke’s pewter complexion softened the fence line. In her blouse you see her form in fire. This was her third death, where she drown in fire’s doorway. Your lungs witness fire’s stratum. The house an anthem upon the crest of the iron-burnt harbor, a searchlight.
Even now she is gone, proven too late to speak. Her invisible country fills with signals.
You’d come to understand there would be no intercession. What acolytes remained were now orphaned.
You remember the veteran grass in which she lay, looking upward to the dark grains of hydrocarbon, Saturn’s sputtering rings.
As I knew it —the strange banks of your blue house, silent shores, downs and dark, The night-window murmurs. Tides glittering your tiny claw, my logic settles with you, settles my ship, my city. I wade through crescent pools wound through two ruts along the channel, deeper as I settle at the bottom of the sea We perch upon unnamed stones, fire’s thousand shields around us. Held in abeyance you said you’d had enough. Had held out enough. You spoke of winners and losers. I grieved for you. I grieved for you. You did not grieve for me.
I had a hand in my own failures. Remember, to be alive is to be of injury. The meadow heaves, and the wind in slow degrees awakes the will of my language. It is an old language, the self-same language, wordless in injury, as I am wordlessness among them: the dead, caught among the dead languages. And in injury, the American soldiers surrounded us, we the injured. And, as in a movement of language, the wheels and the spokes of language, a language of lack in which we were attacked for speaking, our voices travelled as a stream. A blue shimmering rose above our enemy. Every silence was a crime under the wheel. Every wheel was an old language, the self-same language, the will of language. The will and the courage of will move language forward is not a light endeavour. Not without politic. I have said this again and again and I will say it again and again. Even if it is only to myself that I speak. But there is always a lack of justice in the communion of will. I regret my observations, the time and distance it takes to unfold my progression. I regret this pity.
-- Maureen Alsop, Ph.D. is the author of Pyre (What Books Press) Later, Knives & Trees (Negative Capability Press); Mirror Inside Coffin (Cherry Grove Collections); Mantic (Augury Press); Apparition Wren (Mainstreet Rag; also a Spanish Edition translated by Mario Domínguez Parra). She mentors online with the Poetry Barn and is the book review editor for Poemeleon. A series of visual poems accompany the poems selected and can be found at: Hyades Magazine(including poems and interview), Entropy,Fuel Station (forthcoming) ,and have been on exhibition in a celebration Amnesty International’s 60th anniversary on Magnetic Island's Louver Gallery, and appearing at Umbrella Studio in Townsville in 2022.