In the Low Countries
by William Doreski
A landscape sounded in threats.
Relics of the war: concrete
bunkers still reeking of flesh
eighty years after; a ditch
where rain still exposes bones.
Someone calls my name. Not
my real name but the one I wore
the night artillery ignited
a sky riper than van Goghís.
The self dispersed in colors
too delicate for the eye to trace
through interstices of competing
nationalities waving flags.
I didnít enlist in this tour
of battlefields, but find myself
afoot and thirsty among
dry sunflower stalks taller
than the men who died in flocks,
sheaves, clusters, and gaping crowds.
Whoever called that mordant name
expects me to respond in body,
not spirit, so I step from the brush
and shake a proffered hand worn smooth
by thousands of casual greetings.
Hands like this know everyone.
Its owner and I look over
the landscape with watery gaze.
The rumpled fields parse themselves
in pastels winter canít explain.
Out there sprawls a border
no longer on the maps. The tour bus
crosses with a sigh of exhaust,
but the dead halt there, uncertain,
in a mist of brassy music
we agree to mistake for wind.
Copyright © 2018 by William Doreski.