How did he do it? Open those good hands, spread his five fingers wide to receive the blunt nails? Hear the crack of bone, delicate wingwork of phalanx and carpal? Hang the weight of his whole self from those soft clay doves and trust them to hold? To hold?
They flutter light. Brush against the good wood. His mother’s eye catches, watches as she used to watch beside her dreaming child those white birds of paradise gently reach for some thing lost, some thing left behind, a kingdom he saw about to come.
Speaking of Houdini and escape, of Spring, this Spring, there being no General or Eternal Spring,
yesterday I saw a blue pickup pull out from a stoplight with eight trees swaying and gesturing, sentenced to a life
they never chose. We know the cruelty of mathematics, the bottom line, how it can cancel the exactitude of longing.
How bereavement can sound like the plunking of a piano tuner through an open window, notes trying to break free
but staked to the tonic scale like greyhounds tethered to a doghouse in the killing heat of summer.
As the truck accelerates, the wind ruffles the trees’ feathers. They could be five year olds in an Easter pageant, trying to slough off wings
and other baggage. They are that filled with the Holy Ghost. Oh, the odd beauty of green! Oh the rumor of another life!
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).