Poppy Day

Poppy Day

I do not know what war means.
Overhead planes are fictions,
drop hints, but never all pretence.
My house stretches and shouts as they draw their lines.

I do not know how to tuck a bullet snug into its bed.
Nor can I put a wide hole in a hare at four hundred yards.
I can’t fit my father’s uniform.
There’s no blanco on my fingers.

I do not know what peace means. It’s all I’ve lived.
On TV they lay down and die, whatever they’ve deserved.
I’ve not counted coffins slipped from silent Hercules.
I don’t know why this poppy flowers.

I do not know the meaning of overkill,
collateral damage, body count, FFE, widow-maker,
bullet sponge, death card, kill credit,
ghost walk, graduated response,
garden of stones.

By Noel Williams

Image: Hannah Williams