+

A Veteran

By Reginald Gibbons


Published:

A Veteran

My father came down not killed

from among others, killers or killed,

for whom he’d worn a uniform,

and he lived a long afterward

 

a steady man on the flattest of plains.

I called after him many times, surprised

when I heard the catch in my own voice.

He didn’t know how to find the solace

 

of listening to someone else speak of

what he’d seen and survived.

He himself closed his own

mouth against his own words.

 

In the wrong sequence, his spirit,

then his mind, and last his body

crossed over that infamous, peat-inky,

metaphorical water that has no shore.

 

I think he was carried like a leaf

in currents so gentle that a duckling,

had it been alive, could have braved them,

but too strong for a leaf.  And saturated

 

with minerals that steadily replaced

organic cells, the water turned my father,

an ex-soldier, to leaf-delicate stone inscribed

with the axioms of countless veins.


Reginald Gibbons has published 10 books of poems, most recently LOST LAKE (Chicago 2016), a critical book, HOW POEMS THINK (Chicago 2015), and many other works, including translations of poetry from Spanish and ancient Greek, and the novel SWEETBITTER.  His book of short fiction, ORCHARD IN THE STREET, is forthcoming from BOA Editions.

People MAKE this happen

click to see who

MAKE Magazine

Publisher

MAKE Literary Productions

 

Managing Editor

Chamandeep Bains

 

Fiction Editor

Kamilah Foreman

 

Nonfiction Editor

Jessica Anne

 

Poetry Editor

Joel Craig

 

Intercambio Poetry Editor

Daniel Borzutzky

 

Intercambio Prose Editor

Brenda Lozano

 

Latin American Art Portfolio Editor

Alejandro Almanza Pereda

 

Reviews Editor

Mark Molloy

 

Art Portfolio Editor

Sarah Kramer

 

Creative Director

Joshua Hauth, Hauthwares

 

Web Design

Johnathan Crawford

 

Proofreader/Copy Editor

Sarah Kramer

 

Associate Fiction Editors

LC Fiore

Kerstin Schaars

 

Contributing Editors

Kyle Beachy

Steffi Drewes

Kathleen Rooney

 

LIT & LUZ FESTIVAL, 2016-17

 

Managing Director: Nuria Sheehan
Co-directors: Sarah Dodson and Brenda Lozano
Associate Artistic Directors: Daniel Borzutzky, Joel Craig, and Ireri Rivas
Media Director: Jennifer Patiño Cervantes
Production and Logistics: Stephanie Manriquez

 

Sound and Vision: Charly Garcia

_________________________

MAKE Literary Productions, NFP

Co-directors, Sarah Dodson and Joel Craig