A man in trauma. You look at his ear.
His ear blooms small and pale
as a dried pear, normal,
a soldier. When he says
I have never hated so much in all my life
you focus on how his a’s don’t open,
accents in the north and in the south,
the places people come from
and say they come from, sunk in snow.
I’ve heard of a bull who bashed his head
against the walls of his holding pen
so many times he died before his fight
began. A young man lifts
and lowers his thick glasses
on the bridge of his nose,
which peeks pallid from a doughy face
topped by a fez-round cap of forest green.
Boredom killed more men in the trenches
than other kinds of sickness. Now
we have Nyquil; we have Benadryl.
Afghanistan is an empty place, full of wars
ancient as we are,
and the memory of wars.
Its mountains are stunning.