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poem from The Lost Brigade
by Bruce Guernsey


Those who've been to war love maps.
They keep them everywhere: in pockets, drawers,
the glove box of cars and stacked by the toilet.
Maps are what they read, these poems for soldiers 
who hear in the lines the whir of blades,
who smell in the colors the char of smoke.

They know the hidden meaning of rivers,
the true symbol of water, how dry a last breath —
that here, spread flat on the kitchen table,
are really mountains, the strategic home of gods.
For those such as these, myth is truth,
and this paper you touch, a metaphor for earth.

image by Victoria Woollen-Danner

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