Nights in the Gulf
I wish I knew you there,
a man curled up in a doll’s bed and the tailhooks
pounding overhead and always
people up and down the stairs and
never enough hours, never enough quiet to last the night.
I wish I knew you over Kandahar,
the puckered smoke-black mountains
and the gunfire spitting at your tail, and the calls
coming in and going out and in those times,
or when it’s over and you’re making your way back,
I wonder if you come across angels while you’re praying
for the mail, see the faces of your grandparents
sliding past you in the dark.
Sometimes at night,
I walk to the beach where I took that last
photograph of you, remember how you worried
things would be different after so much time, that the dog
perhaps would not know you,
that this life you loved once
would just be one more thing to lose.