£1000 in prizes in our War Poetry for Today competition

Aria By Michelle Bonczek

Aria



I am reading this to you from a stage,



from a bathtub full of mineral salt, from a canoe



 



lost in the Pacific like a paperclip



holding a death certificate. I am reading this from a drop



 



of water, a sand speck sunk



to the bottom, a little island dome.



 



We are on Jupiter’s smallest moon, in a poppy,



in a bean field.  We are sunflowers and a herd of cows. 



 



This is a field of vision. It grew long before me, before



you. Before I walked for the last time



 



to the rail of my grandfather’s bed, away



for the first time from the rail of my daughter’s crib.



 



I am reading this like it is the last thing I will read.



I am reading this like it is the only thing you will hear.



 



Light through paper before the smoke, four lives



in a four-wheel truck on a Baghdad roadside.



 



You can smell the metal, the sap, the blood. 



You can hear my voice saying your son.



 



I am reading this to you under a veil in Sudan,



as we lay beside one another on the shores of Normandy,



 



from behind the crosshairs of a gun, from a corner, blind-



folded, hands bound.



 



Words are rising to a sky over Moscow, Krakow,



Tacrit, New York, Hiroshima, Berlin. Sounds are moving



 



like waves toward Japan. I am holding this page



like a scroll, untying the string. I am folding my words



 



into an airplane, into a passenger pigeon. I am reading loudly,



softly, silently to myself. I am singing



 



from the hospital where your grandfather met



your grandmother, from the dance floor where your mother met



 



your father, from the corner where you will meet me. 



You are holding the hand of someone



 



you do not remember, whose tongue catches



snow under clouds full of planes, full of men full of light.



 



I am reading you wind



through which these bodies will fall. I am the net



 



on which they will land. Here are their eyes, their feet,



their blood. Here are their voices. Open your hands.



 



 



 



More information about Michelle Bonczek Evory may be found at www.thepoetsbillow.org



 



see more submissions for the £1000 in prizes in our War Poetry for Today competition click here