Missing but in the Margins; Even for a Poem; In the Time of Upside Down; An Accompaniment to Last Evenings

Missing but in the Margins

Missing but in the margins
Of a Sigfried Sasson letter, Death

Leers behind a Corpse Corporal,
Saluting soldiers marching out of frame.

No more kids wearing headphones,
Alone, building invisible worlds

In lines of code, signaling a future
Putting an end to paper letters

So loved and harvested, archived,
The unrepentant margins of a soldier’s life,

Received and coffined in drawers, trunks,
Attics, letters to be pulled out,

Moved, burned, bundled, read
By relatives trying to remember

The hand that touched the paper
That moved the ink with inner light.

That hand that touched the gun,
That touched the body bleeding

In a trench, the hand that saluted
Death behind a Corpse Corporal,

That an inky cry for love,
Marching in a margin

Not a digital void, marches still.
This piece of paper, under a streetlight

Under moonlight, soaked in rain, as foxes
Move in, too, past a homeless woman,

The tongue of her shoe hanging out,
Naked, parched, blanketed with sorrow.

All is dark. All is ready to feast on the bodies
Of those who dare to mock the skeleton,

Death, in the margins of an ordinary life,
Unbloated, unrecorded, unremarkable.

Come out. Rise up, maggot-free, clean, all perfumed,
Ink out the non-digital truth that repeats and repeats:

Touch a pen to paper. Let me feel it against my skin
A hundred years away. No one has to be buried

In the void, not you who mark the page,
Nor you who salute the world, in ink, in life, in death.

Even for a Poem

One day, leaves will die and not grow back.
No seeds, no roots, no branches, no people,
A bare earth, no minds to be made up:

There is power in hope, but, if we never speak
Of the butterfly husks dusting the road we choose to walk,
It will be too late, even for a poem.

In the Time of Upside Down

The world is no longer bipolar.
The post-cold war strategic environment
Is ill-defined, dynamic, unstable,
There are dangerous insufficiencies.

Overnight airports, bridges
Power grids, reservoirs, food supplies
Become potential targets in the eyes
Of the people charged with protecting us.

Inadequate nuclear, bio-weapons,
Chemical weapons, inadequate bunker
Detection, limited security, real-time
Command and control, limited.

Lower-echelon units will fail to get
The information they need. Intelligence
Is limited. Surveillance, reconnaissance
And dissemination are inadequate.

Simulation modeling, inadequate.
Training rehearsals, operations,
Translations: inadequate. No voice
Recognition or language ability plus

An inability to deal with sniper attacks.
Only people cleared to know know
Contributing to the dilemma.
In the time of upside down.

An Accompaniment to Last Evenings

For Garry Fabian Miller
and Oliver Coats

The audience doesn’t know
Whether to move or sit still

On the edge of rain.

Blue brightens canary yellow
Purple foams into red
Indigo mystery the horizon

Orange topples yellow, space, color,
Time collapses heat
Charged with astonishment.

A bud angles red,
Echoes, pulsing:
Who can read the fire burns.

Glassed ice clouds
Fracture words,
I cannot find words,

Or edges I feel
Color I am
Excruciating gold.

Desolate cello strings, respite, repeat
Change, fall, we topple, yellow, pink,

Time is having a party
In our body, deep and verdant,

Pure sky no one knew
To know, light breathes

Glass then amber, garnet, ruby, chocolate,
Ears exchange mud white shadows.

A man in a darkroom tests
The vanishing point of light

A man in a dark room a man
In a dark a man in a man a

Living color in the dark
Inner light walking

On what has been,
Will be or could have been

Bleeds be here, be love,
Bury me, no, lift me, in light,

Halo, holy, heat,
Instruments of color,

Harvest harmony,
A universe unresolves

The roof of his mouth,
Tips the edge of rain

In a dark, in a room,
Vanishing. A man. Light.

Evalyn Lee’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in: Letting Go: An Anthology of Attempts, ed. Martha Hughes; Hawai’i Pacific Review; War, Literature, and the Arts Journal; Broad River Review 2016; After Happy Hour Review; Amarillo Bay; Delmarva Review; Diverse Arts Project; The Broken Plate; Carbon Culture Review; The Louisville Review; The Main Street Rag; Red Savina Review; Saint Ann’s Review; Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts; Stickman Review; Typishly; and Willow Review.