He said it was all a test run,
next month friends would come for the real thing.
Our camp neighbored the clamor of cranes
dangling over a future gondola site
facing the hotel the dictator hand-picked long ago.
Guards still keep riffraff like us out except at teatime,
but there is talk of sending his long-interned body back
across the Strait. But talk is talk;
who knows, it might draw crowds,
squeeze a museum of tourists in our pockets.
It's the age-old dilemma—when is a friend driven
by necessity, when part of an automated grid
foisted on a polymorphous terrain
by sheer air power, having no bearing on willpower,
and that is where the others gets bogged down
on the periphery of advertised cities
while small shops with backroom launching pads
vie for a modest piece of the action.
The higher the prices the less convincing—
as if the wrong side had been propped up
and our suspicions turned on us before we knew it,
until...any moral fool could see...we had to get back
not only nature, with its solitary footprints
disappearing into another Green Island,
but to each other. Though hard to listen
with the gumption of paragraphs and connectives
interrupting the usual jingles with a smile—
lost in overrun territory drones seal the fate
of any wandering radar blip.
I tried to explain the humanizing wounds
throwing a wrench into the day,
but it was a script and it wouldn't take “no”—
forced me on a march in silence
on my own or find my own way home.