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Chris Mansell | The good soldier

PRIVATE 40_28-29

PRIVATE 40, p. 28-29, photo Teru Kuwayama, text Chris Mansell

Buy PRIVATE 40

by Chris Mansell

on someone else’s place
it seems to him the land
slings distance way out
the dirt is dead and
the sky seems twisted
the beat of the stones is wrong
he doesn’t know how to say it
there are no words no opportunity
and   anyway
what would you say
that you’re a stranger
and this doesn’t say it at all

he walks with his weapon through the town
and from time to time he sees the luscious curl
of intimacy the uncommon common life
it’s dressed differently he can’t understand
the language rasping and gargling
another time he’d be an interested tourist
now he’s a hunter and the hunted

soon they say
he’ll be freed to retreat home
where the earth is vein deep
and when he puts his hand on the ground
he’ll feel it beating but now
he can’t remember home
though he knows the words well enough
back paddock   Steve’s paddock   the yard
it’s just words but now the imam calls
and winds a veil around his senses
and sometimes he thinks he’ll never
get back to where he belonged

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