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Contributor: Michael H. Brownstein

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You told me graveyards are that loud
and you were right. Noise skittles over crab grass
and dandelion greens, over locust stone and devil's claw
thick with spikes and wooden lures bloody for light.
Passageways of water flow beneath them,
and the voices flow with them gray
and waterproofed, overcast and significantly silent.
We are a people of mourners, Hire us. We cry on cue.
like vultures at the edge of the Ethiopian frontier
or elephants leaving their path to caress
the bones of a sister. We can scream like warplanes,
rend our clothing into scars, draw the tattoo of death
exactly as a battle begins. Remember it was us
who rat bombed the islands off Panama in 2001
and it was us who people bombed
the villages of Central Afghanistan.
We are one hundred sixty pounds of manure,
blood, gravel, fog--not enough
to cover all of the newly dead, but enough
to ensure there will never be silence in the graveyard.

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Michael H. Brownstein has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and The Possibility of Sky and Hell (White Knuckle Press, 2013).


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