Kyle G. Dargan

The Battlefield

~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).