over the mound and up into autumn brown grass sky is an ocean of sand and unswept tears. i am here and i am dead. behind in these trenches are dug the unspent moments between scenes of youth. i am dead until i return with all the carbine spent and casings hammered like nails in dead plank boards. i am no hammer nor gavel; i am bankrupt beyond means to exchange lives for life. there is no return nor untrod path back to a breathy lightness. i am here and i am dead. i sit under this only one tree lone and bare of leaves and bare and lone of bark. it the only respite, a shade from the grime and smoke amongst the grime and smoke. it is your tree. our tree. my tree. i dig deep and deeper and deepest till the roots pass over my eyes, bone wisp hairs to call me back to moments in summer next to green grassy water where kisses fell like august rain on hot cheeks and butterfly eyes while pink lips whisper of how forever will unfold. but that never happened. you went away. you went away into war and stayed there under the bloody boom and scream of levanthian brothers. i saw our never born children grow up. i fed them. i cradled them. i taught them how to string a bow but never taught them of arrows for love had died and gone away with you. i saw them grow up and grow out and move away, our children that were never born. there never came a letter from that place you had gone off to. only silence came to sit next to memories that when left alone like children turn themselves into a wintered howl. i am here and i am dead crawling under your tree to hold your hand. it is not much but it is more than i have ever had, more than i ever hoped. i loved you and you went away and i am content. i missed you but i would have missed you more had you stayed and lived that dying descent while your heart never stopped crying for your cedar scented brothers and your mother’s land. so now i am dead too and under this tree with you. i can feel the inch of earth worm its way downward crushing. i hold your hand. i am here and i am dead so i might open my eyes one last time upon you.