£1000 in prizes in our War Poetry for Today competition
Aria By Michelle Bonczek
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