Follow Me Home
Sonya Taaffe



     You dream the wire where your hanging flesh

     tatters to bloody flags in the sun,

     the battlefield stink like a butcher’s sewer

     and the shop-display of no man’s land

     garlands the mud with boots, cloth, corpses

     pared to a clench-jawed grin; a knife-blade

     speckles troutlike with rust, a china head

     rattles like a dice-cup with the glass eyes within,

     dainties discarded in a drawer at home

     where letters tied with red ribbon leaf-drift

     now. A clock-tick, a ratsfoot whisper,

     and I dream the night before the last came

     stained with earth like a sexton and another

     man’s hand: the shell-casings, the shrapnel

     I picked from a flooded ditch, a watch-face

     splintered to half past ten and in the sunset

     soaked to Mars; the beheaded, the detonated,

     the flayed, the impaled, gathered in my wake

     like a murder to the gallows, pilgrims to the cross,

     a cluster of bullets like bruises in my hand.

     The mortar-flares. The silence. The wasted land.

     The same dream kicks and sways with the wind

     each night by graveside or candlelight: I plant

     red poppies and dog roses and the children play

     with blind dolls and pocketknives, crying rhymes

     at crows; for the dead I could not harrow,

     for the words I never wrote, for the last letter

     I unfolded with your smile on my face–

     blasted, blown open, unsurprised.



About the Author:

Sonya Taaffe has a confirmed addiction to myth, folklore, and dead languages. Her poem “Matlacihuatl’s Gift” shared first place for the 2003 Rhysling Award, and poems and short stories of hers have been been nominated for the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, the Pushcart Prize, and the Locus Award, shortlisted for the SLF Fountain Award, and honorably mentioned in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. A respectable amount of her short fiction and poetry can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books). She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Classics at Yale University.


Poem © 2007 Sonya Taaffe.  Painting by Vincent van Gogh.