In the End

Chris Nielsen

1
Meditation inside a tank, 50 miles to Baghdad

And why now
do I arrow on
if then now
I will not?
And when all is
now, here to me
could it be
that I will take
my was-me
with my left hand
and my will-be-me
with my right
and we three
burn on as one?

2
Phone call from Fallujah

I killed a kid, Mom.
I didn’t mean to, my God,
I mean I did, but
I thought he had a gun.
(So I saw him a man
in the alley dark as a womb
like a bedroom, darker than self,
blacker, much, than “a wet, black bough.”
Black channeled into the stick
he was playing with. He was
playing with it. Before the words I felt
I wanted more than anything
to sleep. To lie instantly in the street,
to breathe deep. I wanted
to sleep, but before words I…)
I shot him through his eye.
It was just a stick, Mom.

3
Translation

The falafel’s always greener on the inside.

4
“I am become death, destroyer of worlds”

I will do my part and run.
I will do my part and run.
I will do my part and eat a cheeseburger.
A cheeseburger, man.
I will do my laundry and run.
I will clean off the cheese.
I will do my part to kill cleanly.
I will do my part and quickly drink a Coke.

5

And in the end
I am born backwards into the tightest place.