“Muslim Soldier, Faisal Shahzad” by Dan Leaman

Dan Leamen


Let me get this out of the way: we
are to blame for your raging pit. Of
course, so are you. Let me tell you this:
in 5,000,000,000 years our sun
will balloon and die. Before its death,
our planet will orbit in its flare, circling
through fire the way the lonely tongue
circles through the newest mouth. Earth
will be a marble no god-child can hold.
All books and bones and buildings
will dissolve to ash, will be whipped in a
heat like hair blowing back in an ocean
wind bolting across the windshield of
a convertible. And so too, the Earth
will flake away. Until then, do we intend
to keep this up? Should I go out to the
tree in my front yard and pluck each
of its leaves? Should I tear those leaves
along their spine to prove this false
strength and religion of thumbs? When
our Gods are in the flames, when you
can hear the air of heat beating flesh
like a village of women pounding rugs
over balconies, will the bomb you
set off in Times Square matter? Will
the unmanned hell we unleashed
on a village be weighed in that hour?
Are we to be a meat market of sins, ground
and priced and stickered? For now,
consider the money which shifted to
you through strange, imagined alleyways.
Consider, and not for sympathy, but
rather for the silliness of it all, the hands
through which that money once passed.
It is easy to think of each other as
opposing variants of shadow, but in truth
we are exchanging our own deaths
for our own deaths and at some small
pivot point, we are touching hands.

from Rattle #35, Summer 2011

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