by Carl Boon


As a boy I moved my armies
past Asia Minor
toward the cardboard sea,

not reckoning the stranded,
the waiting girl
stirring lentil soup

as her mother warned her:
beware of them who want you,
they flank, desire,

and disappear. Sometimes
they whisper songs
in their going:

songs you’ve forgotten
except for “She Loves You”
and “Beni Anlama.”

As a boy I couldn’t know
the waiting girl,
her silent armies, paper

dolls in rows, the waves
of hair on her red dress.
She was playing her own way,

waiting for a return.
She couldn’t know
I had no one but her

to play with. Everyone
had gone; it was just us two
on different continents,

flirting with danger and death,
flirting with cannon and desire.
The colonels had gone

to whores, the borders
to tyrants—and each of us
awaited the next move.

“Through the Ages” by Fabrice B. Poussin