March, poem by Jed Myers

At night the dead and wounded march

   in utter silence through our beds,

through our bones and thumping hearts.


They poke us right between the ribs

   with smoky fingers—jabs

and prods to stoke an acid burn,


to scorch the linings of our lungs,

   stir the torture up our throats,

turn our dreams toward ashen earth,


force our spirits’ eyes to look,

   see how these bullets pierced this chest?

this arm got blasted off? this brother’s


lost inside the sudden crater

   where the house was? This mortar

bought this corner of the village


where my daughter wove the blankets

   sold across the world. She walks

with all the other wounded, dead,


the disappeared, the suicided,

   none have gone to paradise,

they wade the atoms of this place,


this planet’s shoals of love and waste,

   they jostle our souls awake,

the silent invisible marchers,


through the waves, across the coasts,

   under the trestled highways,

over lakes, through forests,


through walls, glass plates,

   mountain ridges, steel gates,

industrial blazes, secret installations,


scrap heaps, carnival islands,

   concert halls, reactor shells,

fields of tall grass, corn, stubble,


fields of bog and rubble,

   parking lots, loading docks, markets, concrete clover leafs and malls,


through all these to reach us

   open-souled and silent,

bent on touching one sleeper each,


and if each one of us,

   however deep, unconscious,

feels this final touch of oneness


the mute marcher brings,

   then the wound can speak,

and peace still be the promise.


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Thomas McConnell