HAVANA, ILLINOIS, AUGUST 2020
White clouds, so many white clouds
pause above August’s green cornfields–
an armada of triremes, sails cast in marble,
cross empty skies armies dreamed
held destinies that might outlive them,
mortal sons clad in fathers’ bronze,
the taste of blood and glory drying in their mouths,
all to die for a face whose singular beauty
was fictitious. But the clouds pass.
I never cared much for histories of war.
Honor and bravery I cajoled, things best
left to veteran halls and empty cinemas,
dive bars nursing the pings of automatic gunfire
locked behind a whisky cabinet. Two miles east
bone-white barns crease under bronze rot, husks
abandoned by molting cicadas whose cries
fill the air hissing lost prayers: please
don’t leave me alone, not here.
The Cubs are playing on the radio tonight.
Announcers remember their green years,
the injuries, the trivia, take casual shots
at each other amid the banter. Oh,
what I would give up to see those uniforms
one more time. The signal bleeds out, Christian
radio, then white noise, and I am left
with the scent of diesel and soybeans. I take the exit
pointing to the place where truckers sleep.
Peter Wear grew up in Minnesota and majored in English at Kenyon College. He currently resides in Chicago, where he works in marketing. His favorite job was sifting through donations at a thrift store, where he collected many useless things.