"No wonder. I've been seeing faces/ in everything"

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Issue 13: Free Form

Issue 12: The Necessary Ear

Issue 11: The Necessary Eye

Issue 10: Out on a Limb

Issue 9: The Missing Body

Issue 8: The Lily

Issue 7: Passages

Issue 6: No More Tears

Benjamin Paloff

Watching Ken Burns' The Civil War Again

My wife is falling in love with Shelby Foote. You'd think I'd be on guard
for that after years of half-war in Potter's Field, you who taught me

to pour powder down antique muzzles as though I were force-feeding
medicine to a sick pet, without the hesitation of love. I used to make fun

of people like us, our ears ringing with Antietam, 1862,
and the secrets of spies who will declare victory over our bodies

when we've grown old and forgotten who we are. I saw this
through a pane of glass. After the war, the first media craze,

photographers sold thousands of plates to greenhouses, nourishing
ferns and irises with images of boys in their too-personal contortions

and horses whose mouths unhinged against the grass, as if to release
their galloping horse souls. Above my daffodils, I saw an almost-gone

slave woman, her face etched with I-can't-imagine.
You couldn't make it out. No wonder. I've been seeing faces

in everything, in shadows and waves, in the composite silhouette
of one tree against another, in your face, which has many.

You're the man I shoot-when I have to shoot someone-who rises
through that gory aftermath, unmasked, grinning, ready for a cold autumn beer.

If anything, we're after Reconstruction, the reconciliations we see
as more and more deserving of practice. I'd like to say

I feel dead, but I don't know how death feels. Over the fields
of our tomfoolery, the crows have been waiting for us to fall and stay down.