by Perry Thompson

Inspired by the music and lyrics of Natalie Farr
and dedicated to my wife.
I love you both in the different ways.

Sad and slender the afternoon
lingers on the Baghdad balcony where the girl, a revolutionary,
plots the overthrow of insect tribes in her tiny garden.
From her height she sees brick and bandstand,
failing colours of streets made up for song.
She waits for the tent of stars and the cool carnival of crickets,
those distractions of dusk where fine
sand pads catlike on cobblestone and war seems a continent away.
Fog climbs her terrace like an aerialist in the circus night.

She is forgiven, this girl-soldier, for not noticing the almost
white moon, the gay boulevard turning gray and the damaged boy by her side.

You will say she should have noticed how his eyes
tried to tell her things he could not say out
loud, and as he whispered,
how his hands gestured higher and higher without a safety net.
You say how his hands
wanted to be with her
hands, how his soul wanted to be naked with her
soul on the thin tightrope of darkness where they
might have beautifully balanced
though the line swayed.

She did not see him because he was hurt inside from some lost childhood horror.
No matter.

She didn't notice how his fragility could have opened her life like hands opening to let
bad things go, how the song in his voice when he talked of nothing made of the air
grand and foreign concert halls,
did not see the ripple he made when they sat watching the twilight soar.

You say she should have stolen
him that moment and run like thieves in the night to some
moon-shaped home where
red, white and blue are not colours and thieves are lovers.

Shed already pawned her devotions to the Americans,
did not know the grace of a whisper, and turned away because the boy was damaged,
only damaged.

Ripples never come again.
Memories fade.
Not so the sting of loss nor the brutal turning away.

At 11:00AM Baghdad time, he walks into a crowded
marketplace wearing his Vest Of Heaven
and takes himself and one hundred others to Paradise.

Copyright © 2007 - Perry Thompson
Published: 7/19/07   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem