Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Poetry: Claudia Sukman

Left, Behind

Private Smith looks down
Sees a blank space next to his right leg
He has been told he lost his left leg
He doesn’t remember exactly how
There are blank spaces inside his head, too

Pvt. Smith often considers where his leg might be right now
Perhaps on a soccer field
The white hairy leg, weaving up and down the soccer field with finesse and abandon
Kicking goals
Smashing the ball past the goalie into the net
Cheered on by “oles” and “hurrahs”
From an adoring crowd of limbs: lefts, rights, arms, legs, hands, feet
Separated from their owners by landmines and roadside bombs,
Eyes, ears, a few toes,
The occasional whole head

His leg could be hiking some Southwest canyon trail
He pictures his leg, leaning casually on a walking stick,
Sunglasses and water bottle nearby,
Posing for the photo op, a baseball cap rakishly tilted to the left

Sometimes he sees his leg lying naked in a city street,
Rained on
Touching trash,
Gnawed at by feral cats,
Slobbered over by yappy little designer dogs.

Or in a window display of a tattoo parlor,
Love for Mom and country proudly inked in primary colors,
A parade of unrepentant eagles and all- forgiving Madonnas circles his flesh,
Embossing it like a spiral cut Easter ham

Then other times Private Smith thinks of nothing at all.

--Claudia Sukman

(Found at Poets Against the War.)


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