Yusef Komunyakaa

(April 29, 1947)

Prisoners


Usually at the helipad
I see them stumble-dance
across the hot asphalt
with crokersacks over their heads,
moving toward the interrogation huts,
thin-framed as box kites
of sticks & black silk
anticipating a hard wind
that'll tug & snatch them
out into space. I think
some must be laughing
under their dust-colored hoods,
knowing rockets are aimed
at Chu Lai—that the water's
evaporating & soon the nail
will make contact with metal.
How can anyone anywhere love
these half-broken figures
bent under the sky's brightness?
The weight they carry
is the soil we tread night & day.
Who can cry for them?
I've heard the old ones
are the hardest to break.
An arm twist, a combat boot
against the skull, a .45
jabbed into the mouth, nothing
works. When they start talking
with ancestors faint as camphor
smoke in pagodas, you know
you'll have to kill them
to get an answer.
Sunlight throws
scythes against the afternoon.
Everything's a heat mirage; a river
tugs at their slow feet.
I stand alone & amazed,
with a pill-happy door gunner
signaling for me to board the Cobra.
I remember how one day
I almost bowed to such figures
walking toward me, under
a corporal's ironclad stare.
I can't say why.
From a half-mile away
trees huddle together,
& the prisoners look like
marionettes hooked to strings of light.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: dance, river, remember, together, happy, water, wind, alone, sky, light, night, tree, work

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Prisoners by Yusef Komunyakaa )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Loving you, Harold R Hunt Sr
  2. over zelouse, lee fones
  3. weird smells, lee fones
  4. Truth, Jonathan H. Scott
  5. Hindi haiku - diwali, S.D. TIWARI
  6. You, With Your Wild Strawberries, Will N.., mary douglas
  7. A jumping bean, Harold R Hunt Sr
  8. A bean, Harold R Hunt Sr
  9. There are heroes, Harold R Hunt Sr
  10. Love counts the hours, Mark Heathcote

Poem of the Day

poet Joyce Kilmer

(For the Rev. James J. Daly, S. J.)

Bright stars, yellow stars, flashing through the air,
Are you errant strands of Lady Mary's hair?
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  7. If, Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  10. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]