John Bradley

Fall Fragments: One Year After

Over southern Iraq a pilot looks down
and wonders if those carpenter ants are back
in his living room crawling over his CDs
world atlas family photos if a bomb fell
on his home would the ants remain
or would it be finally free of invasion?

Do you mind? the airport security guard
asks holding up his Star Trek wand
question? command? I listen to his wand scan
my shoe soles and wonder what would happen
if it said I'd stepped in doubt and confusion
Tom Jefferson one of your ribs is missing.

A tall building's shadow resembles a channel
filled with solid water water like a tower
on its side what if when the tower's gone
the building's shadow remains spreads
heavy hungry can be seen in far away
village huts in caves inside of caves.

The President is running hard his blood
pressure like a young man's he can swallow
any poison the prodigal son confesses
his sins to a goat sets it loose in the desert
his father finds a stray takes it in his herd
sickens all die but for the homely stray.

Where is the book with the names of all those
taken when towers fell when Pentagon
crumbled the book with the names of all those
erased in Afghanistan a name for every brown
detained face whose names we cannot
know the book with a slug stuck to the cover?

On the radio a woman says we once believed
the soul dwelled in the skull in thigh bone
now zeroed ground is clear Pentagon repaired
what is our want? what will that want demand?
The contrails over my house read like broken letters
O to float over Chicago like a slip of corn silk.