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.