Death of a Patriot

All that rest are spaces (space)
space of drums
(“Come” they told him)

.

Nitre, cannon, horns, pipes
(echoed, calling)
vertebrae, rope-fray

.

Sinew (pink, foam-flecked)
flailing, fallen, gathered, apart
upon itself, weltered

.

Nitre or niter: saltpeter or potassium nitrate, a component of gunpowder.
Welter: lie soaked in blood.

Who do we actually think has laid down their lives for the freedoms of today? A wellspring of greater beings who have sacrificed everything for us in some past, performing a duty we attempt to honor for a moment, for a day or on a postage stamp? No no no. They are us, one life to the next as we live and die and live—live yet again. We might take a dimmer view of those running roughshod over our hard-won victories if we realized the personal price we’ve paid and how many times. This poem is a death remembered in parts—one day of many from that perspective. Remembered, because that awareness has gone on to live again. I remember past lives (and this is the death of one of them). I don’t much care whether this preamble seems strange or utterly fantastic. Make room. This is the Death of a Patriot.

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