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We Never Know

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He danced with tall grass
for a moment, like he was swaying
with a woman. Our gun barrels
glowed white-hot.
When I got to him,
a blue halo
of flies had already claimed him.
I pulled the crumbled photograph
from his fingers.
There's no other way
to say this: I fell in love.
The morning cleared again,
except for a distant mortar
& somewhere choppers taking off.
I slid the wallet into his pocket
& turned him over, so he wouldn't be
kissing the ground.

Yusef Komunyakaa, "We Never Know" from Dien Cai Dau. Copyright © 1988 by Yusef Komunyakaa. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: Dien Cai Dau (Wesleyan University Press, 1988)
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We Never Know

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