Love Song for a War God
Every part of you contains a secret language.
Your hands and feet detail what you've done.
Your appetite is great, and like the sea,
you constantly advance, lunge after lunge.
Unlike my brother sleeping in his chair,
you do not take reality with ease.
Your pain builds up its body like a cloud
rotating a collage of hot debris.
O Teacher! We have learned that all men's tears
are not created equal. We were wrong
to offer flames to quell your fires. Still,
I must dismember you inside this song.
Your mouth's dark cave awaits Victory's kiss;
blood is the lid your calm eyes never lift.
From Flexible Bones (The University of Arizona Press, 2010).
Used by permission.
Maria Melendez Kelson has published three poetry titles: How Long She'll Last in This World and Flexible Bones, both with University of Arizona Press, and a chapbook, Base Pairs, with Swan Scythe Press. Her work appears in Gathered: Contemporary Quaker Poets, and other anthologies. She is currently working on a mystery novel set in the redwood country of Humboldt County, California. She lives in Pueblo, Colorado, where she teaches at Pueblo Community College. Her poetry collections have been finalists for the PEN Center USA Award, the National Latino Book Award, and the Colorado Book Award. Her nonfiction appears in Ms. Magazine, and Sojourns, among other venues.
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