Poetry Archive

 

Goya's Third of May 1808

Andy Weaver

1. The Man in the White Shirt

And then they're here
standing like pieces of death,
as though decay could rise from the earth,
their guns glinting in the lantern's light,
and my first thought is Maria,
how she'll have to scrub to get the blood
out of my shirt. I think of the small mole
on the back of her right hand,
how I stared at it night after night
like a dark star leading me around her body,
and I worry she'll scrub at my clothes
until it's scoured clean away

 

2. The Man to his Right

A lantern,
the bastards brought
a lantern,
they're afraid to kill us
in the dark,
maybe our wives won't see
everything.
I would kill them with my teeth, my feet,
I'd take rocks from the Spanish soil
to grind my name on their hearts,
I'd cut holes in their bellies
and stuff them with starving rats
because of that lantern.
-but my tongue tastes only gunpowder,
and my fists squeeze nothing but my hatred,
four tired fingers around the neck of the night

 

3. The Man Kneeling Next to the Bodies

The last thing I will ever see
is their boots, and I wish
they were muddy and torn,
like they'd been worn by a father
when he took his son hunting,
or by a farmer, a man who knew each scuff
was made by a piece of his own land.
I want them without the perfect polish
that makes them look unused,
like the eyes of the men wearing them

 

4. The Firing Squad

death because guns
death because light
death because white shirts
death because moles
death because fathers
death because blood
death because blood
death because death

 

5. The Lantern

Don't ask me my story.
I was lit many hours ago,
just as the sun went down.
My journey here was a long one,
and the road has been dark and difficult.
I will not last
till morning.

Don't ask me my story.
Mine was the only eye
that could not
shut.

 

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Andy Weaver was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, and grew up there, Ottawa, Ontario, and in small towns outside of Edmonton, Alberta. During his MA, he served on the poetry editorial board of The Fiddlehead, and was co-founder and poetry editor of Qwerty magazine. Weaver’s poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, and his first full length colleciton, were the bees, has just been published by NeWest Press (February 2005).

 

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