If this isn't war
I started thinking about landmines while sitting on the floor
of this stranger’s guest house. when, deep in thought,
I looked down at the small Persian-style rug in an orange
and blue palate, I saw a dried-up little shred of cheese. isn’t
how you know that yellow?
the river outside the window, maybe
a hundred feet or more beyond the fence,
a row of rainbow Adirondack chairs
– plastic I think –
I’ve expected the call of geese
like I expect at home to notice a shadow
across the window before I hear cacophony. instead
a red-headed woodpecker punches the sound
of another hole in a thick trunk out the window.
the geese are here, but they offer me something else:
no sound. I watch two geese coast over the brown-green
water, then coast up, flapping in coordination toward
there’s no certainty here –
not in the way the sun will wake me.
not in how the toilet flushes.
not in a shred of yellow.
in almost-February, two-thousand-twenty, the department
of defense issued a statement for immediate release
naming landmines a vital tool… that the US cannot
the statement goes on to assure the presence of safeguards –
how a landmine my government will use has a clock that ticks
down to self-destruction or deactivation, there’s no more story here –
just as we do: self-destruction
how the issue was ever blowing up the wrong
person and not that we righteously blow people up –
do you feel that?
the world made us stop for a while. but landmines –
we cannot responsibly forgo.
how do you shape an enemy’s movement as my government does?
a friend told me about the Plaid Pantry
he can see from his cell window
and his dream of resistance that might
consist of buying a candy bar, a bag of chips,
maybe a single-serving Tylenol packet
when he gets free.
how does danger knit together?
how did it knit together to land him at that window
overlooking the Plaid Pantry? at some point
did you deactivate? or will you
self destruct? what kind of candy bar
will he buy?
how did we ever decide that justice
is cages and ticking time bombs?
if this isn’t war, what do you want to name it?
will you ask your friends, what we should call this
thing we don’t call war?