Taking Away from the Words of the Book

We have lived to see the fields where we died grown thick with flowers.

How the moments live in memory — the thick vegetal reek of the mud that dragged us down, a brittle smell of burning, wet socks, mildew, blood. Shit from an undrained latrine. Faces blurred together, by turns old, young, thin, fat, bearded or cleanshaven or downy as a Georgia peach with a fine soft fuzz. A scream descending.

And now in our later years these lands have grown calm, green with new grass, vicious with birdsong, the impatient birches galloping out together. Where once we licked it clean, down to the rock, summer upon winter have piled it up again, back to the old unfamiliar sight; a moment of dizziness. We are lost in time, returned old to pour bitter recrimination into our own youthful, unheeding ears.

Spring is a knife sawing at muscle. We made ourselves demons, here; to find forgiveness now is no kindness.