Today's poem is by Jane Satterfield


A woman can drive a tank across a desert, but what happens when sand shifts, kicks up &
dummies the gears? I'm going to bring my brains to this, my brawn. Tour of duty's not the
same as travel once a convoy's lost & control radio spits back its current of static. A tank
can stall across a desert, but there's duty in the absence of orders—skills to be practiced,
supplies to be maintained. Foremost is keeping cool. A woman can drive. I remember
basic's assault rifle, cadences, kit & camo. Grenades tossed with an easy twist: Victory starts
here. As a process, essential, but who sees it coming? —poor words
: no shelter, no shade. A
woman thinks: bullet's arc, sniper flare. Perfect bangs wilt in a torrent of fire. A hit like a
letter, a dream: There is no danger down here (ghastly glimmering of the guns outside & the
hollow crashing of the shells) or if any, it will be well over
. . . A desert can drive chronicle &
elegy—there's duty in memory's mirror, brains & brawn start here. As a process, essential.
Poor words, quiet grave.

Copyright © 2013 Jane Satterfield All rights reserved
from Her Familiars
Elixir Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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