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The Other Half

after Philip C. Winslow

I was bringing back firewood. . .

This isn't half the story.
The other half is one sandal print

between two dents in the dust.

The other half are cities of mismatched crutches.
The other half are called mutilados.

The other half is the story

of fragments of metal and stones,
of dirt, muscle and bone,

and pieces of the other sandal

blown into the bloodstream.
The other leg is blackened

and smells of gangrene.

I was on my way to the well…
The other story is how

they were sown in the fields

like potatoes.
I was on my way to make charcoal. . .

The other story is about pain.

Of how they were hidden
on bridges and roads.

I was going to dig for cassava. . .

The other half are the missing maps
of placements.

The other half

of the field is fenced off.
I was fetching a cow that had wandered off. . .

Questions for the Millenium

. . .is that the way
the new epoch begins, is this tank
with the long Gogolian nose its godfather?

– Adam Zagajewski

Do you hear this morning's wind
blowing from Siberia, sad
as Coltrane's saxophone,
righteous as Malcom X?
Is that the weeping of prisoners
inside its voice, or the Russian army chorus?
Within it can you hear
the protest of the poisoned snow?

In room after room will televisions
ever stop consoling themselves?
Why is the Buddha's second coming
overdue, and who will disclose
when the Epoch of Compassion begins?

Amidst the New Year's confetti
and tooting of horns, who heeds
the voice-over from China
reporting that the cornea bank
is open all hours
for deposits from death row?

Whose tongue belongs to the Balkans?
Whose uncle is that
limping away from his home?
Could that be your grandmother
clutching grenades to her heart?
And who invited the IMF
to fill these craters
with usurious loans?

Where in the wind is the cheep of the finch
and the tap of the riveter
fixing the roof?

Who's strumming that song on the oud?