Beauty Is A Cardinal, by Preston Hood

I cannot

imagine

being at war

my entire life

like Bao Ninh.

I fought for

three quarters

of a year

a river rat

it seemed…

L-O-N-G-E-N-O-U-G-H

where in

my body

do I feel

this emotion?

Is there

a center?

a periphery?

in my belfry

sleepless dark

bats can’t

gnaw shame

out-of-me
but a cardinal…

peck…peck… pecking

at the window…?

footsteps

sneaking up

make me

jumpy

where is my

awareness?

my breath?
_____________

Preston Hood served in Vietnam with SEAL TEAM 2 (1970). His poems have appeared in various publications, including Salamander, Nimrod, Rattle, and Michigan Quarterly.  His chapbooks include A Chill I Understand (honorable mention 2007 Maine Literary Awards) and The Hallelujah of Listening (2011). Email: poetpret@hotmail.com