You come home from the war
at least a third emptier than you were,
Like all the words were scooped from your head
with the butt of a rifle
that you constructed with your own hands
and demolished too,
leaving so much of yourself in the barrel.

The teeth in your gums white crosses and country lines,
none of them belonging to you anymore,
rattle like augury bones in your sleep
because in the night you are some twisted, ugly thing
like a trout gasping for breath
on the floor of a fishing boat,
running from the yawning mouth at your heart
to get away from what remains here :
a battlefield.

You come home from the war and leave your love behind
in the hands of a poet,
a soldier whose eyes stare out at you in each nightmare
the claiming mark of his blood splattered across your face and emblazoned on your soul,
his smile tinged mustard yellow in your memory
but his hands so vivid;
pencil, pages, and the pistol,
callouses against your cheek
trampled into the mud
sonnets painted into your skin
frozen in his favourite shade of indigo.

You are dreaming of the hospital that had become,
by virtue of his presence,
your home –
and here is the battlefield stretched out again before you
but you are tired of fighting without him,
waiting for one more cloudless day in August,
50 years away he is a bruise in khaki pyjamas,
and you come home from the war,
into his arms.

Auteur : aboulabasstranslations

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