Forever War

by Kate Gaskin

Kate Gaskin

Because we cannot be undone
by routine violence,
because you call what we did

the forever war, because history
is a needle quilting itself
to the same thirsty bedrock

my white ancestors claimed,
there is only, in the end, the matter
of our shared complicity.

I am no better
with no finger on a trigger
than any other colonizer, and you

with your immigrant mother
and the bombs you loaded
onto Jeannie Leavitt’s plane

are only one man among many
telling the same lie: that air power
can suture the musculature of war

shut for good. Can this ever
be undone? Now drones. Now the same
Groundhog Day of special ops

humping across dry lands
most Americans could never name.
You are gone

in your plane over the Tigris
again, and here there is only Nebraska
and wind, my insufficient

hands, the dumb and bloody language
of the tongue I cannot shed.

Last updated May 12, 2019