My Father’s Letter/ James Nixon

for my dear

My father crept a letter into my hand

the day that I left for my first tour of duty.

It’s not what you think. It’s reserved for purged

moments like this when inanity just needs

a kind of sibilance to tip it over the edge –

when the egoistic sun is sapping the land

of everything good. It reads,

                                                   “When the

egoistic sun is sapping the land of everything

good, my dear, I think of you. When the horizon

continues like a chatting widow, my dear,

I think of you. When my book has been read,

when the cigarettes have been smoked,

walls counted, heels kicked and fights picked,

my dear, I think of you. Yesterday, we went

off doing what one day might be called

winning hearts and minds. If they are like us,

their hearts will be leased like overdue

library books. Contrary

to what the televised men will tell you

the only enemy I saw was a water source

of boys trickling down the main street

who came out of themselves like salmon

when they saw us. A mutual occupation began,

us by their dancing, them by our cumber,

after which we tramped across the majority

of the world’s emptiness loaded onto a stony plain,

back to our sandbag mansion

where I began thinking of you and wrote this letter.

 

 

Read James Nixon’s bio here.

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