WHY: 3 A.M.
When you love a Marine, you must love
the world — the sun-streaked Ohioan
riding a baler; the Utahan stalled out
on Route 80’s shoulder; the North Dakotan
lighting a joint in his mother’s basement.
The Kansan florist specializing
in funeral arrangements. Love them.
And that guy at the truck stop
ordering chicken, face the color of
a too-common equation: beer plus boat
minus the good sense god gave him.
On his t-shirt, George Washington
aiming an AK-47. And the woman
taking his order, lips outlined orange,
eyebrows plucked stern, right forearm
kissed pink by cigarette burns—
Love them. But don’t stop, go further —
goldsmiths in Jakarta, coffee pickers
in Sumatra. Chinese honey smugglers.
Teenage Thai jugglers. And the boy
not yet seven in Kabul, caring for
what’s left of his father. Everyone —
the smokers, the ballers, the tweakers,
the jokers. Buckers and fallers. Poppy
growers. You must love the whole
world hard — bee for the nest —
to make your own love
make sense. And those nights you
I was beside myself,
twin tinder-bone wrens conjoined
at the breast. One of a mind
to peck the eyes from its head —
the other deaf to everything
outside of what was improvised
and duct-taped in the chest.