not for two minutes
but sixty years.
Only then does he start to talk,
not to his family but his brothers,
those soldiers in slippers,
with cemetery teeth,
their medals saucepan lids
pinned to punctured chests,
their stories shrapnel
lodged in matter
from a distant land called War.
Later, I gather rusted splinters,
their gist a desert expedition:
mirage of wire,
signs in barbed Gothic script,
hot metal surfacing
through oceanic sand, in front, behind. I panic,
turn to trace his steps,
a trail of breadcrumbs
swallowed up by circling dunes;
not knowing how this terror ends,
if my father will survive
to speak its name.
© Deborah Harvey 2011
This poem is from my collection, Communion, published by Indigo Dreams. If you like, you can read some more here.