I asked a soldier about the camouflage
and he said nothing. Kiss that soldier,
place your hand over his heart.
He has been reinserted with missing
pieces and extra pieces. Such
graffiti and noise. Jigsaw
this soldier. Out in the field,
wheat, and in the wheat, weevils.
A helicopter lands in a field
of soldiers wavering like—
These mines dismantle metaphors.
These soldiers have eaten
the flag. Give them engines,
watch their childhoods fall away.



Melissa Stein is the author of the poetry collections Terrible Blooms (Copper Canyon Press) and Rough Honey, winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, Harvard Review, New England Review, American Poetry Review, Best New Poets, and others, and she’s received fellowships from the NEA, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. She is a freelance editor in San Francisco.