Draft, March 2008
She dreams of the moment
when a uniformed man
comes with his brittle bag of bones
to her little suburban door.
The man is gone
he will tell her
they blew his arms and legs
and now his head
is popped open
on some other cultures dust.
She dreams of how she falls
leg weak to the kitchen stones.
Her love is just red bones
and all his pride
is left to her to bear.
She must be so inordinately proud,
silent sobbing in the pews
where all the men who knew her man
are screwing up their eyes
Some pity her pale face
and most admire
her quiet pride
and sad propriety.
They do not see her secret acts:
walking naked through the home
alone and rubbing ash and oils
into the places he could touch
or when she tears newspapers up
to chew on when her tongue is gone
or turning his clothes inside out
to find the arm hairs he has left.
They send the medals with salutes
they send the cheques by men in suits
they send reporters too polite
to note that she has tired eyes
Another uniformed man comes
to enquire why
and lies among the smelt out clothes,
terminal, from some weakness,
or disease, in-between her neck