“Forested Arms”

through bark and bough
bursting, demanding
light speckled leaves
fast-growing saxifrage
garlands gladly given,
hoisted around shoulders
which once bore rifle stocks
blooms keep blood at bay,
pressed into wounds
hereto unnoticed; trees
older than bullets break,
blasting splinters through air
cutting flowers and faces

he stops and drops his gun,
propped against a dying oak,
then walks, bloodstained
boots crunching leaves,
into forested arms.


The calloused axe head fell
a rather long time ago
split from heart and handle
by any number of possibles.

Strong wood shield, perhaps?
or striking metal breasts
or slipping between bone.

It was discarded, but
it has outlasted its