The city's shades are never quite silent
the streets are haunted.
We are land-thieves of the dead—
and of the living, their accusations
stifled by artillery-fire and long assimilation.
What we take was ours always.
What we erase was never there.
We map the limits of our world in bruises
hollow places, absences and scars
wire cages, barred gates, and graves
and can't keep out the ghosts we make
can't make them speak our lines.
Borders are uncomfortable things
and one runs through me
the memory of rifle-fire on railway lines
dead men buried in the hills
shrapnel buried in a cousin's breast
flesh and blood and blood and soil:
Yesterday's war is
never quite done.
The city's shades are never silent
though you pull down the blinds
though you bar all the doors
paint new names on street-signs
and scrub the gutters clean.
The streets are haunted,