Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Center for the Intrepid

$50 Million Rehabilitation Center Opens on Fort Sam Houston -San Antonio Express News, Jan 2007

Wheeled onto the jet leaving
my town, another soldier

whose pruned body echoes earth
liberating itself from gravity.

Inside the cave of his grey
-hooded shirt he sweats

as might a ghost or cello.
As in another war when a baptism

and birthday party band wrapped
their music in black garbage bags

and dug deep beside the Lempa river.
There they stayed until the air emptied

of metal and fear. Only the air never.
One of the first things learned

by a possible jury is that you cannot be
a witness against yourself.

What then is a body? I raised
my right hand. I still have

a right hand, knees, skin that tries
to explain its own brine and marrow.

It’s tomorrow and my children want the game
they call you be the monster, I’ll be the kid.

The grown-ups I know still walk around
make-believing they are in one piece.

We waited so long
to be sure of something.

The song below flinched
a little from the cold.

The song below asking who now
owns his bones?

Credit


Copyright © 2014 by Jenny Browne. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database

Author


Jenny Browne

Jenny Browne is the author of Dear Stranger (University of Tampa Press, 2014). 

Date Published: 2016-04-28

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/center-intrepid