Rooted in black soil, a forest of bodies;
standing desiccate and barren.
Their wrinkled, black charred faces staring at me.
Outstretched limbs clawing; scraping at my skin.
From a clearing, the echo of timber cracking.
The song of swinging steel.
It is the hand of the woodsman;
the redeemer, hacking their trunks.
I scream into the autumn wind;
i am the rain
i am the rain.
my finger is poised on the button of rain.
i am no one if nothing but rain.
my droplets are drums, a tin-pan beat—
the curbs, riverbanks, my rivers are streets—
i pull the cork from the drain.
i am rain.
i am the snow.
my breathing is blown into flurries of snow.
if nothing is frozen then nothing is snow.
my snowflakes are cotton, spinning a loom—
wind-drifted lace, white-curtained room—
i say which way she will blow.
i am snow.
i am, perhaps, spring.
my temple is built on the altar of spring.
if there is no birth there can be no spring.
my morning is dew: cold, wet, lust—
the sapling, the stamen, the pistil, the thrust—
i tell the earth when to sing.
i am spring.
i am, in fact, the sun.
my being is born in the eye of the sun.
if there is no light, there is no sun.
my waking is life, rising over your roof—
my horizon love, look east for your proof—
i make slaves of you all and masters of none.
i am the rain and the snow and the spring
and the sun.
—Jeffrey Aaron Schmidt
When Ramon Met Christopher in Valhalla
On Friday, October 29, 2005, the Department of Defense confirmed, in a
The death of Acevedoaponte, Ramon A., 51, Sgt. First Class, Army, from
It, the DOD, also confirmed the death of one Monroe, Christopher T.,
Army Reserve, from Kendallville, Indiana.
As it turns out, Sergeant Acevedoaponte was a grunt from the Third
And Chris Monroe was from the 785th Military Police Battalion.
Now they are both dead forever and are in no particular military contingent.
Perhaps, if Valhalla really exists, they will meet or have already met.
Five other Americans were killed on the same day
Marine, Regular Army, and Reservists.
But these two surely would have gravitated towards one another, now dead,
They should have a lot to say to one another,
Though for entirely opposite reasons.
Ramon, 51, with half or more of a normally lived life behind him and
no life at all in front of him would have been drawn to Chris’s
The Specialist not yet 20.
The younger soldier would surely want to know from one of the oldest men
He’d ever seen in a military uniform,
“What now, Sarge? How in the world do we get out of this fuck-up?”
(Later Chris would almost certainly want to know under what
circumstances he could now expect to lose his briefly held virginity.)
For his part Sergeant Acevedoaponte (“You can call me Ramon,” cutting
some slack to Specialist Monroe) couldn’t help ask Chris, rather
“How in the world did you permit yourself to die so young? What in
God’s name were
The younger man was quick to justify himself with words about building
democracy, fighting terrorism there instead of here, making Iraq safe
from the crazies, and so on.
None of which Ramon to the slightest degree took seriously.
After Grazing Rock
the hull punctures and water
soothes across the fiberglass,
giving caught trout new breath:
they flap as if possessed
with electric blood.
we stuff the hole
with a balled sweater
and loll, wind-wisped
current shifting the boat
sliding sets of eyes