But It Wasn’t

Twice I read the same strange story:

an officer torments his dutiful foot soldier
so utterly, the boy—normally mild—
begins to strangle the man
who strangles the boy
each one robbing the other
of breath.

I was fifteen and certain
the story was stupid. At thirty
it seemed to me horribly true.

What accounted for this change?

I wish I could say
it was more than the sun
rising and falling
like yearnings each day
driftwood, smoke, the thinning of fog
or some shift in the wind
that calls sparrows to sparrows…

Tony Leuzzi’s most recent poetry collection is Meditation Archipelago, which was published by Tiger Bark Press in 2018. His Passwords Primeval: 20 American Poets in Their Own Words (BOA Editions) collects twenty of his interviews with American Poets. A visual artist who repurposes discarded books, he is also a staff writer for the “Books” section of The Brooklyn Rail.

Appears In

Issue 7

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