(After Rimbaud “Le Dormeur Du Val”)

Here a river carves itself a valley
overgrown in rags of second growth.
Here a river sings with sunlight
fracturing rays to yellow shards.

The young soldier–hatless, bare
chested, his mouth gaped wide
to clouds that bring light rain–
sleeps silence in a field of wintercress.

His teeth smile the grimace of a sick
child who is the sum of his warfare,
while the soil warms his emptiness.

Winds bring the scents of flowers
to insensate nostrils. Quiet, he lies
with one red hole in his right temple.