It’s OK to kill them,
but not to urinate on their bodies.
It’s OK the bodies are really dead,
OK their mothers and fathers
keep waking to the same
It’s OK the bodies will not
be joking again. That neighbors
will not pass them in the street
and remember skinny little boys
tumbling like lambs.
It’s not OK to urinate on their bodies.
It’s OK the Marines practiced shooting
on cutouts of human figures with no face.
It’s OK the men they shot did have faces.
It’s OK those faces have been shoved
into memory, and won’t make the magic
flesh journey that somehow turns
a smooth face into an rippled one
proclaiming I walked the whole way.
It’s OK that someone has to find the bodies,
has to kneel down and see the torn flesh.
Someone has to knock on the door,
say the word dead and hear wailing
from the underworld.
Someone has to wash the bodies
with a worn rag and see where the bullets
went in and where they came out,
small wounds and bigger ones.
Someone has to wonder if God is still there.
Joan Kresich has been writing a long time, always with a deep attraction to poetry. She likes to see if she can pare words down to the moment they heat up — a sort of alchemy. Her writing has appeared in a sprinkling of publications, most recently in the Adanna Literary Journal tribute to Adrienne Rich. She works to bring restorative justice to her community as a practitioner and trainer, and is the author of "Picturing Restorative Justice'." Joan lives in Livingston, Montana and Berkeley, California, in one place listening to the cries of wild geese, and in the other, to the mix of urban dialects.