to 5

    on the 5ives




            And once, and once.  The pick eye settled on,
            accidentally right, the fists

           punishing her xylophone: that squatter past
           absorbs late-century afternoons,

           Ohio shimmering, that Tuesday like a scar
           along the tissue of Creation,

           new stakes in wind, in claims of field,
           in floors, wind-lifted under me,

           built to give, as the butcheries
           begin, as cousins

           call down


            rites of slaughter on their cousins.  I loosen
            my grip another time,

            but see the pick drawn free, this sabbath

            these scenes of warriors I have no quarrel with,
            and see the face of Bernadette,

            whispering against blood-enterprise, against
            theologies in arms,

            her words, like a good salt, to coax an evening
            to full-scale.  I put

            that fight behind.  And feel the child-by-child
            swarm of holidays,
            the voices raised to banquet on fresh air,
            put by this murderous

            esprit, these cries begun in cheap
            depending on the body,

            feeling its rise and fall, like blood
            to marvel on, and feeling

            the good blood break,
            like a well-made

            wave within.


from pick


robert lietz