Issue 4

Dore Kiesselbach
Two Poems

Green Zone

You stood at an intersection directing
traffic and afterwards said you felt useful.
We paid for the coffee we drank standing,
shared a spoon. In a window
above you, a woman smoked a cigarette,
looking over the city into empty
space as if the horizon
was a drowsing lover she had tired of.
A boy crossing the street adjusted
a backpack on narrow shoulders.
A man in the crowd spoke
loudly to no one. His face
was a vandalized bicycle abandoned
with its lock. I woke beneath stairs.
Sometimes I see it from above.
The crumple zone that’s death
ripples like water toward me but stops.
You’re mixed with prepaid phone
cards and the phone card vendor.
Someone will have washed them off
so they can call home.

Assyrian Frieze

The good society is shown in 200 yards of narrative
stripped from foreign walls.
The fisherman faces fish in such a way
that they can be said to be equal.
Grain grows straight under a stone sun.
A victory procession is passing through the capitol,
castes and classes arrayed in traditional ways.
Distinct tendons guide horse legs.
Left to right the story flows
and thus our timelines too.
For those wishing to know the future,
the stone changes direction
and music plays where the docent
points out details and prisoners die.
Because with each drop of blood
the heads grow heavier
they’re carried away by hair
wrapped twice around the carriers’ wrists.
They should they have known better.
We should we have too.
Patterns in fabric worn by onlookers
on the far side of the avenue
can be seen through
the spoked wheels of passing carts.
Let us praise perspective and squares
with centered dots inscribed inside.