July 2006/Volume Seven/Issue Two
Jacob Rakovan
“You are beautiful as Tirzah,  my love,
comely as Jerusalem,
terrible as an army with banners”
Song of Solomon

your eyes in muddy boots and footsore
burned the bridges behind them
left the dead heaped in trenches
and pressed on

bayonets fixed, tinny loudspeakers
poured out drums, and brass
and exhortations in a language we did not speak

the children threw flowers
but they had the dirty wise look
of seeing too much
strange flags waved
in grubby hands
while the city burned
and the mortars exploded

your mouth
drove through the arch
the spoils heaped on flatbed trucks
and the captives in chains behind

toppling statues in the square
gambling, chasing whores up wrought iron steps
strange laughter echoing
through the blasted buildings
every word you said
made its home inside me
uncaring if I would welcome it or not

your hands were fluttering white tents
red crosses on the roof
and inside them I slowly died