The War Was On

By Steven Schreiner

The sea was turning to oil. Many dead
sooner or later. Wet feathers that never dried
burning without fire in the vast sun. At dawn
the flat road of water wimpled like a sheet
too heavy, pulling down the clothesline. The poor
neighborhoods hidden in brick, the white-sided houses
and the pinched daylight, the grease of meat
in the straining updraft full of sweat.

One day the wind died and nothing revived it.
Lichen scrawled across the trees, turning them
to living stone. There were no mirrors
to bathe in. We ate dirt. Waiting for rain
the leaves upturned and never reverted.

What leaves were left were turned to lace.

Every day the birds made their singular pleas
which sounded like any other. There is a god for each
creature, sang one. An airship is arriving
full of destinies, said another. Sun coming out,
sun coming out, sun coming out. BE
CAREFUL! Be careful! Be, be, be
careful! Where did you–you–you–you
go. A word with you. I want
a word with you. Lick it. Lick it. Lick it.
Weep. Weep. Weep. Weep. Can’t wait.

If I thought of you at all
if I had any regrets
if I bore it all in a better manner
if I had never killed