All I know of the Spanish-American War
is what Virginia boys, kept safe at college,
etched into the mortar with their pencils
so that leaning against a brick wall
a hundred years later, I can make out
Cuba Libre! and Remember the Maine!
I don't remember the Maine, only
that a Cuba Libre is made of rum, Coke,
and lime. What I know of sacrifice is
the tin spoons that always fall into
my dorm room radiator. Cereal:spoon.
Ice milk:spoon. The world is lousy
with spoons. The world is lousy
with lentils, flash bombs, lo-fi, hi-speed.
Somewhere is a petition I should be
signing. Somewhere a parakeet is
driving a tractor, and I am missing it.
A pair of scissors is thrown and the boy
catches it with his arm, the blade sinking
inches deep, so fast there is no blood.
His roommate says What do we do now?
Pull it out, says the boy, but no one wants
to be the one to pull it out. That's when
they turn the camera off. Some nights
I dream we meet: You have to help me,
he says. Cuba is burning. I reach into his arm.
I pull out spoon after spoon after spoon.
Published in I Was the Jukebox (New York: W.W. Norton, 2010).
Published: 22 September 2011
© 2011 Sandra Beasley and Southern Spaces