& Bless: Poems

I’m afraid to say anything or nothing, I’m white & unalterably broken.

& the War Was in Its Infancy Then

By the time I looked over my shoulder, the sun had already fallen.


A story about what changes and what remains the same, in just six words.

A Childhood

The horse had been beaten and flies crawled on the beat marks.

A Distant Episode

The distant past returned—what part of it, he could not decide.

A Dress Rehearsal for the Apocalypse

History howls for direction so I remind him how the hero was lost.

A Fragmented Diary in a Fragmented Time

We take our solace, in a time of malaise and mourning, in the close-at-hand.

A Husband and Father

Frank kept his face blank as he read the orders: Report to Berlin.

A Journey along the Atlantic Slave Route

Neither blood nor belonging accounted for my presence in Ghana.

A Matter of Appeal

Felicia knew why he was there. He was waiting. Waiting for her.

A New National Anthem

I’ve never cared for the National Anthem. It’s not a good song.

A Pantoum for Alex

The guy who drove the mother to the morgue hands him an empty. Nostrils a little raw, displaced, conscripted, by your Shock and Awe.

A Partial History of Lost Causes

Chess was a humiliation that hung over him like a leper’s bell.

A Soldier’s Lover

We never really had what might be considered a normal conversation.

A Storyteller’s Story

Americans have always a kind of tenderness for cheat.


The guards ripped off Mara’s clothes, pinning her head against the wall.

Across the Sea: A Sequence

The stones here carry the island’s low cry inside them. A landlocked grief.

After Noguchi and Other Poems

Crows rasp from branches, scatter debris across unfinished plots.

After Saddam

He said he had come back to the prison because it was home.

After War

The author reflects on a soldier’s experience, in just six words.


The towns died as quickly as a single house, a house like ours, lit gold within.

All My Friends Are Sad & Bright

We’ve seen the news. We know the story. How even our bodies hurt us.

All Saints’ Eve

Why did it take Steven’s small coffin to get me to see my own son?

All That Floats

Devanand Simon was twenty-five when the bodies fell from the sky.

All the Trimmings

The old man drinks some more liquor and whacks down two trees.

Alon and Gal Go for a Drive

Elohim, we lasted through all the shit of training, and now it’s over.”

Alva Watches the Previous President Fly Away

Alva knows the storm is coming. The ground is falling away.


Waiting for a cure, waiting for the closeout sale, the black sail.

Anchor and Knife

The first time I met you I fought your father in the driveway.

Another Christmas

‘Isn’t this great?’ she said. ‘A bit of peace for ourselves?’ ‘No one could go into a cafe on their own on Christmas Day.’