Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Dear Ilium, by Chiyuma Elliott

Dear Ilium,

Some of those battles were pointless.
I opened the tent flaps and peered out at the world.

The bird learned to copy so many sounds;
its entrails were clogged with bright bits of plastic.

What was our strategy again?
And why did the wind wince

as it skirted the brilliant corners downtown?
Some of those battles were jointless,

footless, feckless. Yet I polished the armor
and sat on the ground

and shot no sheriffs and smoked no spliffs
and sang songs that applied no pressure

when we ran out of bandages.
But some of those battles were spotless.

The signs said fuck 12, the seconds ticked past.
The thoughtless old ships rusted in the bay.

We lost we won we painted
new ships and faces on plywood,

and the birds wheeled and sang.
What's a victory, what's a garden?

We burned some cities,
we shattered some glass.

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