Words Stolen from Broken Tongues

-after Nick Flynn

They came
with wooden fists and
metal boots after men
with beards, I did not
have a beard. The screaming
of my children my wife
molested the night, before I was taken,
but I was as useless as summer clothes
in January.
The venom beneath spineless
tongues ensured I died that night.

After three days
after forty days
after a year
we took the body parts
of dead prisoners to the front gates.
I don’t remember those days, like
I don’t remember the bombs
between my legs: placed there
for their amusement.
I envied those whose minds
began fading, those who vomited blood.
I was twenty-two praying
to be blind
to be deaf,
praying to be carried
to the gates.