BIRTHDAY POEM

The war over,
tall grass clings to the sun.
Arms full, wounds idle,
we surround an old roller-coaster of love,
go home, claws in our pockets,
broken brick and glass amidst our eyes.

In this city, tongues of bells
are cut out right before winter.
In hospital, nurses dance
when we come in laughing.
They bed us in water.
In waiting rooms we wait.
Someone with shoulders of muscle
rolls by in a wheelchair to say
you are now a father, having lost a daughter.

Under husks of clouds and the moon,
we flee.
What shamelessness!
How did we get here so fast?

The trees, Ukrainians, bordered by Russians, dance, bleed;
others, dead fathers
from dreams ago,
whose babies lie stuffed in their mouths.
The dead search for eyes
through weather-beaten stone.
It is time. While my mother is being born,
we dance through a graveyard with Uncle Frank.
Alone, you bring dead roses for your wife.

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