From a field of grasses dried
by wind, two civil guardsmen stare
toward the sun for traffic
on the lonely road
they have been stationed to protect.
They are tall
against the burnt horizon,
still as the ground itself,
and one is the reflection of the other
as, side by side, they stand
in place. Should one
turn around, the other does the same.
Each fingering of a chinstrap
is copied by the partner
seconds later and without a thought
to guide the motion.
When the first rolls back
his shoulders to ease
the tightness of his cape, the second
imitates. The hours blow
past them and no traveler
comes close. They are a monument
of two, with four eyes focused
on a single road
while inside their uniforms
their hearts march on the spot.
The Other Side
The border once ran here, between our grass
and their grass, says a man who lived to see it fall,
between our water and their water, between
life and death, between our freedom and their freedom.
Wine-deep in memories, he walks only as far
as he used to when it marked the end
of his country, and stares through a hole in the world.
I lived here, they lived there, he murmurs
to himself; I was blessed, they were cursed,
I was strong, they were stronger. Now they are coming
to take back the years once denied them.
with their unshaven faces and smiles
their dentists ruined, they are just as he was told;
everyone he ever feared.