Dear History, you who are my first
thought each morning, my last each night,
my unmarked grave,
and though we’ve never met,
I’ve read your letters over and over,
until they became, in time, the ghost
figure is everywhere I
am and am not yet. All at once.
And the more I read, the more
I leave my body
to break down at the walls
of holy city after city,
name after name of those who fell there,
none of whom
are you. Dear History,
I confess, I am beginning
to lose faith in the old gods,
in the word’s
power to fathom the human
face. I keep thinking of the movie
where they bring a severed head to life.
I see the torso
who kills to repossess it.
If a torso can be serious
a moment, it would tell you this.
What I see,
grieve, talk to in dreams,
appears as such in a distant mind.
But in the movie it says nothing,
like a broken
nation that has no mouth.
Life, we know, does not return.
Only the word life whose meaning
leaves a body
helpless, heartless, dead.
Only a head whose torso is out there,
lonely, scared. If a zombie can be
it would sit down with us
and confess what hunger does
when the soul is elsewhere in
Dear History, I am afraid
of my country, though I know
the word is made of many heads,
many of whom
are severed. When asked how
history would judge, my president
replied: History. We won’t know.
We’ll all be dead.
And the awkward silence said,
we’ll all be headless, heedless.
We, as one, will be the many
ships on a stone cold
sea, thrashing in the dark.