10/6

helmets

we flea-marketed our defenses.
found them in a pile of army-green.
everything in the world was 50% off that day.
tried them on & used each other's eyes
as mirrors. saw myself in the circuits
of your iris. a race track moving 
always towards the unknown. the war 
went on so long that we didn't know 
where the boundaries were. often
whole battles were fought inside 
an individual. standing there hearing
a horse gallop through my own heart.
how could it be we were all ghosts?
or, maybe worse, maybe war is what
makes ghosts of us. in my helmet though
i felt safe & so did you. bombs bounced
off my skull & found another body
to destroy. there is a law of the 
conservation of catastrophy: if you avoid
annihilation, it is coming for someone else.
the helmet then is a selfish apparatus.
it makes me feel dolphin & i grip
both its edges with my thumb & forefinger.
only at night do i remove it 
to gaze inside & see a cathedral ceiling 
complete with choir song. you use yours
as a bowl. fill it with lake water
& go fishing. pull a trout to earth.
wriggling in the grass. you ask
"should i throw him back?" but it is
too late. there is no backwards 
when it comes to water. i do not share
my helmet like you do yours.
a missile grazes our skin while we sleep.
we know only by a streak of purple 
drawn across our left cheeks.
kisses of death. i strap the helmet back on.
i can feel a battle blooming
just on the other side of the street. 

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