Bam. B-r-ck, b-r-ck. No one is dead. No one is here.
This is a poem about my brother in Afghanistan.

The Movie
My favorite place in the movie
is Mos Eisley spaceport. There
on Earth the jingle trucks touch
the ground—this makes them jingle.
What makes them jangle in the jungle
of 2009, which is a desert,
which is a cover of a song by Bob Dylan,
is a tingle from a cell phone and the jangle
is a bomb. What dangles is mangled.
This is the single worst part of the movie.
I have no camera angle.

The percentage of soldiers who survive
has gone up.
The percentage of soldiers who fire their weapons
has gone up.
This is an essay
on the SAT.
Scores have gone up.
Scores have gone up
to Heaven.
Tear your yellow ribbons
and begin.


Snow falls, delicate, on the facial structure:
a direct line to the legate, a phone booth on the plain.
Better satellite photography erases the face.
Further aerial reconnaissance displaces the structures
into a separatist corner disowned without rupture.
The phone call is routed through Langley, VA,
one of the nation’s busiest digital hubs.
The joysticks lean forward in the basement of the CIA
and the figurines are routed this very second, today.
The phone rings without answer in Lancaster, PA.

‘Palimpsest’ is an ornamental word for ‘mess’.
“The Orient” appears as the return address.
USPS seals the envelope with a yellow “God Bless,”
which I break to read. Every stroke is clean,
not a word was struck. The best palimpsest
quacks like a duck. Not a single M-r-n- was struck.
Hashem rests like a tongue of flame above . . .
The sachem’s crest is his hand inside your chest.
The news anchor apologized for the vicissitudes
of apocryphal text before shooting the empty thicket.

Forty-three soldiers wait in line for a discharge
in the Readiness Center. They have returned from Mars
on their way to a bar. To pay the surcharge
each hands over a green twenty: each reads Allahu Akbar.
Allahu Akbar when war is far; otherwise Allahu Akbar,
forty-three soldiers and discharge after discharge.
A satellite truck drives down the highway to the place.
The gates are locked; it’s locked down. The videographer
waits and films without motion or sound. The continuous
stills are aired around the country. Is it just me, or aren’t we

Mars is ours, or not. / If history rhymes, I won’t. //
A Soviet looks through binoculars from the ring road.
He marks down some notes on the interior (“rocky, cold”).
He has been driving in his open-backed jeep without a radio
or weapon. He fills his canteen from the river. He speaks Pashto
and speaks to no one. / A significant amount of time passes
and he retires to America. / He is American. //
At worst the face on Mars is a tomb, and at best it isn’t.
As an albedo feature (unusually bright), it required
further investigation. We found a black site.

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