Sunday, November 8, 2009

When We Were Revolutionaries

When We Were Revolutionaries

When we were revolutionaries
We slept together every night,
Only the thin canvas of a
Tent between our backs
And the knotty ground, kept
Closer than brothers, sought
Furtive pleasure in a roll of
Worn blankets, slept like
Stones amidst the bugs and crickets.

In the morning we went
On patrol together,
Scented the air, heads half-cocked
Like young deer,
Watched the treeline,
Government troops just over
The next hill, as close
As death.

Now the war is over
And our offices are located
On opposite sides of the
Politburo. Still I pass you
In the staff canteen, or
Feel a twinge when I see
Your name on a cross-department
Memorandum. We speak with
Polite affection, mouth the
Party line, smile our
Affable smiles, at
Official get-togethers.

But - when our eyes meet
In an accidental glance
And I think I see a glint
Of memory, I want to ask
Could I have said or
Done something differently?
We expected an unmarked grave
In a forest clearing,
Not this steady burial.

I have no way of saying sorry
Now. What happened could
Happen again. But listen -

One night soon I'll knock
On your apartment door,
Cash, clothes, and papers
In the car, and in my hand
I'll have two tickets
For the last train.
What will you say then?
What will you say?

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