The Minefield

He was running with his friend from town to town.
They were somewhere between Prague and Dresden.
He was fourteen.  His friend was faster
and knew a shortcut through the fields they could take.
He said there was lettuce growing in one of them,
and they hadn't eaten all day.  His friend ran a few lengths ahead,
like a wild rabbit across the grass,
turned his head, looked back once,
and his body was scattered across the field.

My father told us this, one night,
and then continued eating dinner.

He brought them with him – the minefields.
He carried them underneath his good intentions.
He gave them to us – in the volume of his anger,
in the bruises we covered up with sleeves.
In the way he threw anything against the wall –
a radio, that wasn't even ours,
a melon, once, opened like a head.
In the way we still expect, years later and continents away,
that anything might explode at any time,
and we would have to run on alone
with a vision like that
only seconds behind.

                                                                         Echolocations, Story Line Press, 2000
                                                                         Robinson Jeffers Prize for Poetry
                                                                         Best American Poetry 1999 (Scribner’s)
                                                                         Poetry: An Introduction (Bedford, St. Martin's, 2001)
                                                                         Bedford Introduction to Literature, (Bedford, St. Martin's 2002)
                                                                         Revenge and Forgiveness (Henry Holt, 2004)