Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

Scarecrow; Under Flightpath

Scarecrow; Under Flightpath
Photograph via Flickr Thomas Halfmann

These resurrection scenes painted
on the thick glass standing between
mourner and a pristine view of steel
silos overflowing with October corn
have flaked, faded, dulled the burn.
Silence by silence, those  who  loved
him fill his body with whatever they
find lacking in  themselves.  Unread
newsprint, old war letters. Guilt, its
absence. But  I learned the etiquette
of  grief  before  today.  How to bow,
fold my hands just right, accept that
this unforgiving darkness  still gives
off  some light. So I say I accept that
ash can be  stoked back to flame. So
the grass  lit  dimly by dew I assume
means more than night’s bone-deep
chill. Body-length planks lead us all
out into a red field where in an hour
or two we’ll return to an unfinished
harvest. Pupils widen with morning.
My  wool  suit  itches  at  the   knees.
A gristmill kicks  back to  life.  Black
birds are everywhere, and in the low
register of coming winter,  the  earth
begins  to  harden  from  the root up.

Under Flightpath

Living so long with this unresolved
but no longer burning need to sweep
our contrails from the sky, to take a
boxcutter to the airstrip and control
tower; a roof’s perpetual trembling.
Watching windows steam whenever
another plane rises into that brash
violation of landscape. Saying now
that we have wings, are the heavens
any more masterable? Now that war
is a simple act of distancing? Smoke
from occasional wrecks billow up
around a childhood spent holding
glassware in place, hoping the walls
withstand another’s coming, going.
Eventually every blast fades neatly
to white noise; we have learned to
eat our dinners off shattered plates.
If I told you there are moments in
the lifespan of any house when ruin
is the glue keeping it all together,
would you believe me when I say I
haven’t given up on my country?