Behind the Wire

In Poetry on September 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm

from The Abilify Sonnets

Edwin’s a big man, so tall and broad he can barely fit
in the tiny cabs of the Bobcats, the Caterpillars, the earth movers,
the bulldozers he and the other dirt boy heavy equipment workers
use to level the ground, to lay the foundations, to build
up from nothing the gates, the barriers, the perimeter fence
running around the American base. Edwin says after days in the desert
the sand and the grit run off in the shower, little brown rivers
of mud. He says sometimes he hurts so bad he has to take something so he can get

to sleep. I could tell him I know how he feels. I could tell him I do
the same thing. He draws me a diagram–how to bear a heavy load
even as you twist and turn. How to angle your crane. The television high
on the rec room wall cuts from floods to riots to insurgents’ explosions.
So close to us, to our little circle of flickering lights. That night as I swallow my dose
I imagine big shoulders, thickening the walls, unspooling the beautiful, comforting wire.


Joanna Grant‘s work has appeared in Guernica, The Southern Women’s Review, Verse Monthly, The Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. She is a Collegiate Associate Professor/Wandering Scholar with the University of Maryland, currently on assignment in Southwest Asia.


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