The sounds that surrounded his fever,

constant hammering, table saws whining,

from the project down the street,

old buildings being demolished,

led him to dreams of poison


Draft notice stuffed in his pocket

he walked detached under brazen trees,

fixed his image in sidewalk puddles,

forgot his studies at the university,

heard unknown voices, unseen, faceless,

shouting, “Hello! Goodbye! Forever!”


Blood was everywhere, even in the leaves


He stopped his wandering, his listlessness,

lay possessed on a bunk in a third story room

dull with the odor of wall paper paste,

unable to move or speak, overcome

with childhood memories


Cicadas sharpened their daggers in unison,

a constant clash of war in the making

“Listen!” they whispered,

in voices that frightened him:

“Your father wants you dead!”


When he woke from his delirium,

sunlight staining the ancient carpet,

all had become clear:

what had been stirred in the slurry of his daydreams

was the cruel plot of the history of the world