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Marilyn Buck



Clacking keys announce your presence
a stalker that needs no silence
your eyes sweep the hall
searching out encounters

my bones tell me who you are

your eyes sight in on me
you bark my name
an obscenity in your mouth
my eyes meet yours
you recoil ...
     too late

my bones unearth your history


you press against the corner
the hunter in his blind
your tongue cuts loose
          You speak Spanish, Buck!
an accusation
          I know what you're saying!
Ana Luz laughs: ¿Es ilegal hablar de la

          Ah, you speak Spanish, Mr. Kane.
          one woman wonders if you are Latino
          your black hair, your moustache ...

your eyes flash
an M-16 in shadowed forests
          No! No! No!
          I'm an American!
          But I've been there

Where, Mr. Kane?

compañeros’ bones murmur
from beneath tropical forest floors
          si, estaba aquí
          yes, he was here


you hunker in the darkened cell
rifling meager possessions
I stop in the door
you start
          Get out! No! Halt!
          Are those books yours?
          There's a map ...

I stand still
is this a trap?
          ... the island where I was
          Tiger Island, la isla de la tigre

bones clatter in my chest

          you said you were in traffic control
San Salvador?   Honduras?
an island off El Salvador!
Hunter Kane steps from shadows
trophy in his grin
          yes, but not there
          advisor in the countryside
          you know ...

my bones snap
the sound of .223s slap flesh
"jungle" boots dance in blood

yes, I know
death stench settles on my bones
when you stride prison halls

but you do not know
my bones are not mine alone
we are wherever you are

not always prisoners

Winter 1997

This poem appeared in
BLU Magazine, v. 2, n. 7, 2000;
Prosodia X, 2001; and Rescue the Word, 2001

Marilyn Buck photo by Mariann Wizard Marilyn Buck
(photo: Mariann Wizard)