A Poem by William Frank

To be set in the hottest part of the battle
near to the wall where the archers
throw their murder volley from the sun
while holding on desperately to my strength
in the shouting, dying zigzag of confusion,
the vast, terrible violence of our barest center
killing everything all around me
even as I pressed forward in the crush
only to see a band of valiant men
slowly approach to set themselves upon me,
their tawny hunting dogs on a chain
who I briefly saw in my imagination
curled together quiet around a hearth
until I was awakened by the cold sense
that I am far away
emerging from the finish of a wave
when I turned around and saw
Joab and all his men, all my own,
stare like thieves at me as they withdraw

now laying here hacked to pieces
a corpse on my left and the trunk of a man
I cannot reach crying on my right
I can finally see the summer
the quiet bright blue, the ice cream shop light
that shines over the joy and freedom of children,
over the young men and the young women
meeting in the spray of a fountain
the prisms dripping from their perfumed hair
where the passeggiata is driven like a breeze
only by its own neighborly delight
as I lay here in the time when kings go to war
spattered again and again with blood
like a flower in the rainy field


how my wife is now so far beyond me

how the summer is going everywhere without me

how this sun is so beautiful and intense

look how we’re curled together around its hearth.

William Frank is an author of 6 books of poetry with an extensive list of performances in and around New York City. When not writing poetry, he enjoys long hours of chess, bingeing on 1950’s Japanese Cinema, taking naps with Scrambles his cat, summering with the Devil, press-ganging the elderly and Sadism. Visit him at TuckfordBunnyPress.com.

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