We will walk it back from the bright roar of water
from the turmoil the cataract the whirlpool the rapids
we will quite suddenly understand form and boundary
go where the rocks slant
a lapsed and collapsed bank of the river
hauntingly brutal and beautiful

We will walk it back from the time
of poked-out eyes
and bloody crushed crusaded bodies
bits and bones tossed over the bridge

We will walk it back from where the flame sinks
over the conquerors and the conquered alike
where G-d is absent
and no one can survive a week
much less a lifetime

We will walk it back to avoid the reckless the pointless
with our nervous and nerveless mouths
without saying a word
we will ask our partners for forgiveness
we will remember they have other things to do
we will listen carefully if they speak
leave them alone when they sleep
let the silence spill

As the day goes dim and the old wander home
we will lie on our backs in twilight
listen to the melody of the Solomon Islands and Ukraine
walk it back under thick columns and piers
green with slime black and discolored
with mold and oil and the breaking of hearts