BRAID

by Floyce Alexander

Photo of scalp hung by one nail.
Mudsmeared window of the cold house.
Some man’s family crowding together.
This earth always counts its losses.
Men kill. Men die. Men
Always. I know. I am one. I kill you.
I hang your head by the long braid
You spend hours preparing for me.
It’s the gun, honey, throw it out
On the black ice. The West’s mad temptation
To kill what can’t be understood.
Children play the dark forest’s mystery.
Sharp crack, then silence.
I have nothing to report. The sand blows:
I love my mother, I hate my father,
I like to shield his eyes and soothe her nerves.
If you want the news, listen to the floor
Where the valley turns to become mountain.
Bright stars blind the moon.
Undo your braid, let it fall over your shoulders.
I want to love you.
How many times . . .
Nothing flows but the lovers’ run,
A long leap. Waterfall. Kill your children
For me. I have no peace. Let me make war,
Send my enemy starving.
It was only a game, one has to lose.
Photo off to the side, out of the light.
A little history to forget how
Conquest feels. Go home.