- Eco, and: Atoll
The other member of this conversationis the forest we are in, the one that is here
and not quite here, not the woods we knewwhen we were young and lost and elsewhere.
I too have a new face and the faceless woundit floats on, the long loneliness for power
to salvage some broken friend or ocean.Just when I thought I was alone again,
my limbs take on the look of skies on fire,as planets do, and monks, and drunken men
whose vague unease is longing to be shared.Even the best convictions dream the damaged
world that says, I know, I too am worried.The other voice among us is a certain change
in the wind. And once, when I was young,I heard it speak. And in its speaking, listen. [End Page 15]
The shovels of the last war here take on, in time, a phantom life.
All night the slough of rock, steel, unclaimed bone, the dull heft
and pallor of silt, raised, turned, released, and raised again as dust.
An island buries what it must. Long after the ash has settled
over the eyes, after the suns on flags have burned and longboats resume,
casting their nets across the wreckage, the spades keep doing what
spades do. The ghost in the machine of an otherwise peaceful life
worries the earth, burying the dead in the dead who just keep rising.
Which is why the islanders leave their home in foreign hands, promised
for their absence the refinement of a weapon to end all weapons,
to bomb the hell out of heaven and give it back. And shipped off [End Page 16]
into exile for good, tented on a near shore with a crate of provisions,
the ocean breeze their only contract, they see it: the blooming of suns
that stretch their haloes from the target. Twenty-three in all, each
with its prevailing wind. They feel the heat on their faces. And in their eyes,
the image of earth, beyond reach or recognition, scattered to the open sea. [End Page 17]
Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-one books, including Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (2018), Dear Reader (2018) Sacrum (2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997–2015 (2017), Gold Bee (2016), and Black Anthem (2016). He is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.