Gettysburg

July, the sweet month,
soft summer evening.

Venus floats below a thin crescent moon,
diamond and hook in diaphanous sky.

A distant dog’s bark comes slow in the humid air
melancholy call swallowed in the dense oak beyond Seminary Ridge.

Tell me, is it true what Abraham will say,
all dreaded this war – all sought to avert it?

Lanterns glow across the valley floor,
cardinals glide home,
I too want sleep, but in my home,
not here.

Now, full night has come, bats cross above,
we press forward, listening for who still lives,
where enfilade and hollow shell ran wild.

Fifty-thousand and more lay dead around us, brothers all,
terrible work of three days.

A few still breath, God help us tonight.

I know it’s true what Abraham will say,
all dreaded this,
and the war came.

Pietro del Fabro 5.25.07