~for Darrell Burton
That night a mantle of snow fell over all of the bodies, sharp
and fine like sky grating itself. Limbs twice brittle, cold on
corpus morta, sunk while ground and horizon grew
to touch each other. Five months, the icy shards fell like one name,
cataloguing every breathless man as one casualty. It dissolved
with their flesh and seeped into the pores beneath the grass.
Widows flocked to the wells, to the rivers—scooping hands and buckets,
shoes and skirt bottoms. Each poured what they gathered
into wooden bowls, flexed forearms with the alchemy of making
dough they’d feed to pear-shaped kilns. When the bread had baked,
they gathered all the daughters, made them watch while the boys ate.
“The Battlefield” is from The Listening (University of Georgia Press, 2004).