In Our Late Empire, Love

By Malachi Black

drops from upper air,
like rain,
clinging brightly
to the fresh-cut hair
of children
and the infantry:
all hail
the clicking heel, all will
regale
the shrinking light
with grains
of wedding rice, of salt,
of sands as fit
a last brassy parade:
the marching band
will soften
with its growing-distant
drum,
the oscillating hand
will stop
its waving
soon enough, soon
enough;
here now, the motorcade
hums
gaily through the citizens’
applause
and the children’s eyes
bronze faintly
with the glint
of far-off fireworks,
or firebombs,
or falling evening stars.

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