There was the man without a face.
Another’s voice was missing.
A third possessed no hands or legs.
They lounged in the basement.
If he with no voice needed a partner
we shot pool, played cards.
I watched the man without a face,
imagined what was never said,
but I heard when called upon by the one
whose voice rang out in alarm:
Please give me hands and feet to hold!
(If only I had known where else to work.)
Their lives moved backward only,
where there was never more than war
they must find their way to: the front line,
staccato machine-gun fire, explosions,
bodies falling to the erupting earth.
Out of what they had in common
they conjured the only game they knew
buried in their nerves: War without End.
(11 April 2013: II)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander