Other Poems

The Fourth One

 

three sleep upstairs

 

in deepest night

the fourth one wanders

looking out windows

to a starry sky,

reading manuscripts

in floorboards

scratched by insects

into grain

when tree was growing

 

he hears the breathing of the three

he watches ghosts of dreaming

come up and down the stairs

 

the fourth one prepares

for battle

a campaign that haunts

the mind

 

he knows come daylight

he will put on armour

and march to where

the convoy then

will take him

 

to the large red compound

where generals general

and choose this very day

how, with whom, and where

the next war will be fought

 

the fourth one prays

that his three will be

safe forever

 

even

without him

should he not return