Arrow straight, a procession of men.
The line hammered into a fuse
winding from one end of the building
to the other. Gilt into a lyrical fountain,
the men—gods in another country, made
small talk. Where, after all, was there
to be? And my father among them fussed
with his tie. And the dust had its own voice
which made the wait all the more beautiful
and sepia. And there were soldiers with rifles
crossing their chests because they were
the real gods here and because blood is
the quickest dialogue and the firmest maker
of straight queues and straighter spines.
Oliver de la Paz is the author of five collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, Post Subject: A Fable, and The Boy in the Labyrinth. He also co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member, Oliver serves as the co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board. He has received grants from the NYFA and the Artist Trust and has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. His work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, and Poetry Northwest. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at PLU.
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