Soldiers – Laurie Byro

Chile, October 1973
With a line from Pablo Neruda

As my husband lay dying, his body gathered rain.
He would have called these drops of love, squeezed
from the eyes of angels.  He would have made

a romantic twist and say that sea spray is salty,
the rocks would become a mermaid’s womb.
It was his habit to walk, to think, to write his madness,

his swords of love. Soldiers appeared like too-late
fireflies, carrying their torches to illuminate each pebble,
all the creeping things. I hope they shined their

faces bright, their decaying mouths, each pimple off
a cliff or tree. Es el colmo.  My husband was dying.
When the Comandante stormed our home, demanding

my husband relieve himself of weapons, the poet calmly
announced “look around, there is only one thing of danger
for you here, poetry.”  Each day he’d walk, he’d touch each

tree, each leaf, he’d scale waterfalls and cities
until he went into heaven’s exile.  He returns
to the earth as rain, he would say something more beautiful.

Rain nurtures the trees of the earth, he communes
with roots and worms.  This dangerous man
lies in the earth, rubbing together his sticks of love.

Laurie ByroLaurie Byro has been facilitating poetry discussion in New Jersey for over 16 years. She is published widely in University presses and is recently in an anthology: St. Peter’s B List. Books of poetry include Luna (Aldrich Press), Gertrude Stein’s Salon and Other Legends (Blue Horse Press), and 2016 Wonder (Little Lantern Press). She received a 2016 New Jersey Poet’s Prize and is currently Poet in Residence at the West Milford Township Library.