A NEW DECORUM
Surprise mortar attacks have left
makeshift trenches between tents
every day this week, and the Forward
Command Center burst into flame
this morning at 0200,
a shade of red you can’t describe.
In the past three days I have washed
every scrap of fabric in the house,
bleached the kitchen, cleaned the windows,
fixed the screen door, made three batches
of strawberry jam with rum, hammered
butter into croissant dough, jogged ten miles
and finished two Agatha Christie novels.
You sounded as if everything would be fine
until I told you about the yellow irises
I bought last minute at the store tonight,
twelve of them at their peak, reflecting gold
over the grey-flecked linoleum,
over their cellophane funnel
dotted with red markdown stickers
that read in handwritten letters take me!