BOUGAINVILLE


(Solomon Islands, South Pacific, 1943-45 / 2010) 


Thick-wristed vines have overtaken

craters where boys thrashed

and died, the screams of spilled guts

and incoming shells. It was the noise,

the blinding noise that killed.


Above white beaches tamarind

and jacaranda filter sun

that coils and hammers flat the day’s

damp heat, while distant voices

falter, gasp, go still.


Strung round the globe such places lie,

idyllic tableaus now, while I

part easily cascades of

trumpet flowers. It is the turquoise

hour, the murmuring time


that slaughtered choices fill.



War, Literature & the Arts (Vol. 27, 2015); see http://wlajournal.com/wlaarchive/27/Levin.pdf