Friday, January 22, 2021

Albert Kapikian: thankyou America

                                           for Ken,
                                           a Vietnam Vet exposed to Agent Orange

thankyou America
for sparing us your angels tonight

yes death is such an embarrassment I know
one needs a soothsayer
of extraordinary delicacy
these days a Cassandra simply will not do
I dare say such neurotic maidenhood
has fallen out of fashion these days
one craves a clean white wordless fellow
to utter the word          cancer

dead here on the bed he built

every now and then we need to find out
how well we are dying
why we want so little, some laughter, a hand
why we redream ourselves every night

and I shall carry a basket of dead hands
to the bingo games
lay them out one by one
a bonus to be placed on any square

we have had the same beginning
let us have the same end

yes his skullcap is perhaps
a bit loose
let me perfect it for you

he is willing to wade in all your light
all his neversongs
all his bardless fire

a dead spider is in the window
its exuberant legs legs braided in the heat

the morning is red and sticky          no moon
he's sure to bed before it rises

— Albert Kapikian

This poem appeared in the 1982 edition of The Calvert Review, published biannually by the University of Maryland.

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