—who enlisted in the Union Army as Frank Thompson
I am the breath of a fevered lion.
Everything here is made of beard.
The floors I sleep on hard as stale
bread. I am the cloth in the mouth
of a feeding lion. Each night I listen
to the unfamiliar snores of soldiers
and the moon’s bruises.
I am the breath swollen in the lung
of lion. I would have been flowering
a pot or chopping onions, lamb
limp in a pot. I am the remnants of a sail
across a sea. Here my hands peel
fur off wolves while I still walk
around in my mother’s body.
I am the boat that rows away by itself.
Are there any seas that know
women? And for a gun touched
by a woman’s hand, its collar
ripped open in heat, what could be better?
It’s about being dragged by the hair.
I am the dirty hair. I am the footsteps
under a tongue. I’d rather take a shot
in the arm than to miss the Mediterranean
and all of its marble.