Today's poem is by William Logan

The Dunes

That year the sand dunes served our winter camp.
A figure rose in distance, the shattered blockhouse
arming the horseneck corner of the bay,
where currents fled the tormented sleep of harbor.

Bleached gulls tore holes in a sky of paper,
the Freudian gulls of troubled afternoons.
We lay in sand-couches, tolling secrets
with our backs to the land.

Our skin peeled away, and new skin peeled away.
That may have been precursor of fever.
On the horizon, the coasters hunted signs.
We decorated our thin legs with fish scales.

About that time, the wasting became general.
Later, standing in bus-station-green offices,
or corridors smelling of wet paint,
we waited for a town bureaucrat to sign

our documents, or countersign the scrawl
of other bureaucrats. The wait could go on for days.
The rooms were asleep, asleep with the scent of victory.
The same clerk would have signed drowsy orders

to plough boxcars of salt into Carthage.
No one demanded to see the documents again.
Later we were asked not to speak
the names of the children who died.

Copyright © 2002 William Logan All rights reserved
from Southwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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