Two-thirds

I’m sick today, so here’s a poem I wrote in college.

Two-thirds
Of a knight
Sits unmoving under burnished steel;
His sword, or someone’s, extends vertically
From a nearby shadow, pitted brick-red,
Similarly lifeless.
There are others –
Just as, on first sighting two leaves in the forest
So too are there “others.”
But the leaves, early fallen
From a blood-red autumn,
Are scarcely discernible through the surge of crows
Ebbing and roiling, black on black on black
In the lengthening twilight.

The vision dims halfway to reality.
The prophet is yet new;
Her eyes, still white with shock,
Have not yet faded into numbness
From a hundred such visions.
Presently she looks forward,
Sees again the eager boy – the soldier,
Registers his repeated question:
“Will we have victory today?”
– Victory. She does not immediately know this word,
This “victory.”
Which portion of the massacre
Corresponds to his query?
– But eventually, dutifully,
She picks out the banner
That has not yet been trampled by horse hooves
And compares with the boy’s insignia
To see if they match.

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2 responses to “Two-thirds

  1. Absolutely wonderful to see another poem from you, Buckley. Always a pleasure to read them. I particularly like the imagery, and the idea of the prophet’s thoughts on ‘the massacre’.

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