No Soldier Story

By Ish Klein Ish Klein
                          These ghost soldiers live underground with the vast
                                          oversupply of castoff lanterns.
                              If one were to take broadsword to one of these

                              orange-bearded mammoth men of rough hew,
                                   he would laugh at the passing metal,
                                            make light of entrails.

                            For years I have been here without a clear map.
                             That hopes should dim as days go on above is
                                     natural I suppose, what do I know?

                                        I am dressed like one of them.
                             The thick walls quake but stay soundproof.
                                            I fear my fists vestigial.

                             These soldiers’ own panic is taking up rugs
                            finding filigrees of the former world beneath,
                                 e.g., a locket with their mongrel’s mush.

           They will freeze, then feign noncom; smacking barrels of burgundy
                               with pistol butts. I react comme squirrel:
                   fleeing their reach to the chamber out of the impact area.

                One loved me until I asked if he worried about what must be
      happening without us. Well, his lips did narrow, hand abandoned my knee,
                         blah, blah big mouth were his departing words.

                    I will not say with shame that I came from nothing.
                        Someone paved my first breakthrough at least,

                        one time calling it love. And I will stand by that
                                as it applies to my primary makeup.

Ish Klein, “No Soldier Story” from Union!. Copyright © 2009 by Ish Klein. Reprinted by permission of Canarium Books.

Source: Union! (Canarium Books, 2009)


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Poet Ish Klein

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Relationships, Love, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse