I think of that hill top where men
Nauseated from hardtack and cold
Watched ten years for the signal
That meant the end of topless Troy,
How days and nights they stared
To the next mountain, then to the next.
Not once, do the stories relate,
How those men mistook one light
For another. Never did a brush fire
Or a shepherd’s torch ignite in them
The thought that all was done
Before all was done in the distance.
But I cannot believe this. Night
After night, like a wish or angst
That walked their hearts the way
The lynx stalked the edges of their camps,
The fear and need and hope and urge
To light the fire smoldered in them all.
Until they first failed to resist it
And lit it, then had to douse it,
Until they did that same thing again,
Until they fought among themselves
About the nature of fire itself
Until dawn became bland and mute.
They never had sons or daughters.
Staring themselves blind up there,
They left the cliffs as I will leave
The six-story tall streets of this town:
With only the weariness and tears
That frays new things to the bone.
And their poems? So much time
And nothing but their voices to rub
Against the wind. They wrote them
About love and the fear of blindness,
Anticipation of failure and peace:
The tragedy that never happened.