by Aleria Jensen

Was there something to miss
as you stared from the headland—
a girl back home, your mother’s chicken,
the summer tonic of cut grass.

Was there a longing as you eyed
the blaze of peaks piled at your door,
as you waited hours for attack
to find you, something to find you
in this post where the wind
pulled at your memories.

Or was this just home after all
this shale beach, that ridge line,
boots kicking through
a wildflower meadow,
cigarettes at Christmas.

Was this the center after all,
all strategy and buzz,
heartbeat of defense,
your heartbeat, warm and rapid-fire
over a cold sea, a rising and falling tide,
the ebb and flood of war.