The language on fax cover sheets waiting in the hall

Suddenly, it felt, everyone was deploying to Africa,

Black people I knew and didn’t know were expressing romanticism
without a lick of irony in their tone,

Whether sounds were frequent or unexpressed,

Whether water across exposed corneas, or philosophical prepositions
grasping at dawn,

Hesitation materially unannounced between the lengths of knowing

From words used in an obvious conventional way, the basic red edge

Say it again, the longer the mouthful, the closer to God,

Say you’re from Canada, I was told in Cyprus, where they took my

But I didn’t think then, bringing my hand to the mouth of a sailor’s

I embodied the tradition, I was tiptoeing into the gray-cast sea,

The sand laced with feral cats, torn branches of eucalyptus like
embroidery, aromatic,

Whereas origins are structured by the body’s temperature upon entering,

Which is a geographic belief to map sufficient desire

To produce enough distance,

Or maintain the everyday fantasy of extremism in the bush,

Whereas territory could be anything, clarification on a sound,

measurable trust,

Shaking the handle because there are more ways to watch someone die,

More bright, memorable faucets in the hall.

Saretta Morgan was born in Appalachia and raised on military installations. She’s interested in the ecologies and intimacies that materialize in the shadows of U.S. militarization. She is a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative and organizes with the grassroots humanitarian aid organization No More Deaths, and with About Face: Veterans Against the War.