In mind.

catalpa, heart-shaped and boney
your daddy died years ago,
in redress of his mind, where I leave
my fingers on the stone,
and I’ll never see him, he is just a rock
he is just a worm;
you’ve been in my mind
but never knew me,
I tire; death
is half the stradivarius of the birds
and their strings of gut
than it is mystifying or
inbound
to limb
by limb
and the shadow of their men.
The root of rock
tree limbs near
Anchinia cristalis
their moth wings
in arias
and woodland
mincing and misplanted
in raw-boned eulogy after eulogy
and I’ve never known him
this man of earth, of war
and weedy cypress, lizards
and their fluted skins
married to the wind;
phantom epistles
from Vietnam
fed by labored tumuli,
plummeted fingers into the ground
fall and drown, fall and drown.

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Posted for the dVerse MTB prompt: Write a Protest Poem with a theme (e.g. voting, social justice, peace & war, violence, women’s rights, human rights, environment, pandemic, etc).

This is not quite a protest poem, but I think it communicates the same idea about what war takes away from us, including our loved ones who either passed in war or lived through their traumas until the end of their life.

Originally published on Ephemeral Elegies. I dedicated this to my Grandfather who fought in the Vietnam War, passing away years later in my early childhood.


“Yes You Can” by Satyen Hombali.

Yes you can

Cut off my tongue

But no you can’t

Stifle the songs unsung

Of my seared soul

Yes you can

Cut off my hand

But no you can’t

Ignore the demand

Of my sinewy stump

Yes you can

Cut off my legs

But no you can’t

Sever the steely pegs

Of my rebel spirit

Yes you can

Take away my rights

But no you can’t

Stop this fight

It will go on

Yes you can

Treat me like a brute

But no you can’t

Expect I’ll remain mute

Much longer

Yes you can

Put me in a cage

But no you can’t

Smother my rage

It will burn you

Yes you can

Call me an alien

But no you can’t

Still remain human

I’m just like you

Yes you can

Sow the poison of doubt

But no you can’t

Stop the truth from coming out

It alone will win.


To check out more of Satyen Hombali’s work, go here.