Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,238 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

Species Of The Yet Awakened World - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

The last thing the downed pilot sees
Is the octopus’ inky fear;

His victor confesses, he relives the startled
Eyes of the man he killed every night;
Every night with the medal pinned to his chest,
The honorific of ace tacked to his name;
Only took him fifteen minutes in the frantic battles of Guadalcanal

His wife with him warm against his toes,
Her female heart beating staccato against his male heart,
His children down the hall in their mortgaged rooms;
The lights are out but everything is fine,
The crop grows better when the moon is full,
And the owl has his mice in the loft of the barn,
To which the cats confess they would have liked the meal

Every night he sees the man he killed,
Who would have killed him,
Now just the bones flooded by the inky fear,
Left to settle beneath the Asian mermaid’s fanciful boudoir
These fifty years, his enemy of nameless song,
Of the perpetual twenty years, the eternal warrior of a dead emperor

This is his soggy psalm:
He is still there waiting for the victor’s living eyes to conceal
The light, for him to wake up in the wavering afterlife;
His pinprick of existence repeating in the tracing incendiaries
Which smoked him, until he fell like a misappropriated angel
Anonymously concealed in the nameless archipelagoes
Which happened fifty-years ago,

Amidst the time-less alligators and spawning mosquitoes
Which happen there still,
Though the men and their machines have cleared out

So the dead man, he lives still,
As a tiny part of the hero’s soul, who shot him down
Fifty-years ago, and will live on until
That old warrior’s eyes fail to open and thus remember
The man he killed all those decades ago,
Now like a failed lover keeping time in the lightless skull;
Now like a faithful brother, keeping time until thus unwakening,
They meet each other in the slow waves of the other world
Contained in just a moment’s breath,
And amber gunfire,
Like insects frozen in tree sap,
In the whitely torn clouds above the shimmering abyss,
Recovered by the species of a yet awakened world.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 8, 2008

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