Armistice

"since the armistice papa waltzes
heavily now

his arms hanging
leaden at his leaden
sides
and

if he moves too quickly
the rattle of
cheap french shrapnel carves
out a Christmas
song on the inside
of his leg

and papa is a young
man with wild
eyes he stole from a tiger once we saw in the berlin zoo
he stole
them he did and like two
marbles shoved them backwards
into his

older eyes. less wild and striped and shadowed by the iron bars
of that cage
that did not go away.

once (after the armistice)
papa stood on the veranda. this was when
it was poor
outside raining
in gasping little breaths of rain and papa lifted his fingers to his
stolen eyes and laughed a long hard
sound scraping iron
chairs against the brick or
a mortar falling on the palace and all the
dignitaries

landing on their edwardian egos as primly as chipping at a stone

and papa
laughed and danced
woodenly
woodenly he danced some-
thing

laughing wild at me a broken harp left alongside the burntout palace grounds. and a flower. a perfect little violet. papa handed it to me."