Band of Thebes (Corporal Campbell)

(this is about a one-night stand in a far-off land).

31.6167° N

the din of distant djinn droning in their flight
from the veil to the flame of my breath in the mist
of a tearful night—

the fray of the belt unraveling and the knees quaking
(two pillars shaking to their bases) in debased synchrony
to the tune—

the desire of the camp light lilting in the breeze of your
lips parting and our eyes like daggers darting
into our moods—

pierce my dread, take my hand, and harden the clay of
my doubt into the stout form of a man (an idol we can smash
against the ground) and weep together at his sound;

travel with me around the world, across the wood,
across the page, and let us evade every word
and page our servant the moon.

65.7167° E

(i drowned in the sight of the camp light, in the chill
of the night we shared before (y)our departure at noon;
exactly what the war wanted—

i sought your embrace with a soul that was bared
but was not yet nude; you called—you, all sighs and
superlatives, i could not deny—

and i, i tried; i tried to lie about how disinterest seemed
the most delightful of deigned designs; now, i find
all of my posturing was just courtship misaligned—

now, i have found that, in remembering you, those whirling
thoughts, they breeze into my mind and give me a spine;
your kindness is the caress in which my soul’s confined,

my valiant valentine—taken before our noon
could bathe us in its shine, corporal campbell,
your hand is the warmth in mine).