The 2River View 23.3 (Spring 2019)

Bern Mulvey

Next to the Pohnpei Post Office a WWII Tank

I don't think I could fit,
let alone three, the whole
less than six-feet high, gun
turret a narrow dome,
the body a squat box.
Ha-Gō, the Japanese
tour guide tells it, a tank
so small only kids could
crew it, the youngest and

shortest. We take photos,
from the shrapnel holes grows
now a climbing vine, in
and out again, a green
thread through the rusted frame—
caught out by Allied planes,
by the end of the war
obsolete, shell too thin,
a slow-moving coffin.

Boys climbed in that morning,
sky astonishingly
blue as they rode to death.

Rain Squall at the Nan Madol Runis

I swear it was her idea, the both of us
naked behind a palace of giant stone
one thousand years old. Just a skinny dip,
as she pushed off into infinity,
and with a stumble and nervous splash,
I followed, the water warm enough, out
into the man-made cove, a looming arch,
the wall now to nowhere, a curve made because.
Why here, an island castle built off an island,
huge stones dragged somehow along jungle paths,
then laid lovingly one against the next?
The dead when they dream must dream in stone,
the towers and tombstones, obelisks and plaques
that we raise up against all that which would
forget. I followed until she kissed me there,
until the sky turned and I saw wave after wave
from a great distance, gone the routine of life,
her arms about me, the single slab above
the only shelter, beyond the forces
always close, waiting—how they rattle the bars
of our cages, how they shriek and stamp.

Bern Mulvey lives in Micronesia. His first book, The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants, won the 2007 Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize; and his second book, Deep Snow Country, won the 2013 FIELD Poetry Prize.

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