Tell them   the way noises of backyards
are fires you cannot put out      the noises
of bombardments     shrapnel      sharp loud voices

scratching the night.   You don’t know where fires
will light up   the heavy black sounds    exploding.

You end up where you began
in a shelter where you can’t sleep     war thuds

electric pathways      students coming home 3 am
a barbed wire trail of screams.

Silence has never felt so distant

the preservation of night     in the war the night
was full of alarms.     Patrols of students 

in drunken lurches up the street     it hits you in the midriff of sleep.

And jubilation
will descend in the midnight hours
thud thud thud
                                 of drums
                                                     like Ack Ack guns. 

You sit in tense attitudes
as if waiting for the blow. You pick up the phone.

Police. You wait for sudden quiet
like the sound of the All Clear.    Your heart over-beats    listens in a shell. 

Insistent repetitive music    the whoops    tribal ribald chants

as if they need to bellow
as if they are beasts rounded up by prods of doubt and alcohol.

Paths sweat with leaves
                                          and empty packets of this and that.


Don’t cry
for these homes and backyards
                                                       the lawn you kept mowing
in the wilderness      they’re already dead 
                                                                    with no heartbeat or breath.