Let us remember them all.
It is all the same war.
Lay our wings over them –
kingfisher gleams
over those
who have died
in the braiding of spaces –
the wars between instincts and words;
between gestures and genes.
The peoples who vanished like clouds, in the untallied years –
whose tribes were defeated, whose boundaries are shadow and wind.
Those who sat down in the lean years –
because too many bore in the good ones.
Those who were herded by iron into corners of drought.
Let us feather their bones with our stories,
ruffle the air they once breathed with the blue vanes of grief. . .
Who were food for the gods.
Or who died in the turf wars.
Because they were bloodline. Or offal.
Because they were part of a text that required them to lose.
It is all the same battle.
The same bitter hormones:
the same tumbleweed- and kaleidoscope-flurry of grounds.
Those who became inconvenient –
who were dealt on the wrong side of claims.
Who died on the screens, in the drone years.
Who knelt for the lens.
Who were swept from their fields by Napolean’s ants;
by Jenghis’ ants, or by Akbar’s.
Who knelt for the lens.
Or who lay down and slept, for the drones.
The boys who were not the right type.
And the women who were.
It is all the one war:
to invent ourselves human;
to word ourselves more than we are.
Let us fold them in the azure of our wings.
Those who were defeated by their readings.
Those who played their words against themselves.
Who died for their freedoms.
Who died because terrors like freedom
were too much to bear.
Let us brush them
with the sheen of our attention –
this riffle of lustre, our sorrow –
this brief spill of water and light
which is where we begin.