Cannonball Man

by David Dresner


I sleep above a war.

I dream of muskets shooting at me through the pines,

the pink mist rising into the sun,

igniting the blood red Georgia sky

and catching fire in American clouds

that rush over me as my body

splashes backwards into a muddy river.

This war is a bad dream,

but still, in it things are clear to me

like the silvery trout wading in the deep

creek behind our house, your calico dress–

I will die for what is mine,

in dreams or awake.

If time is a cannon,

nostalgia is a wet wick, and memories

are the cannonballs,

burning in the blue flame

that ignites the guilty white powders

of the heart.

When you dream of me,

let me remain a cannonball man,

melting down and hardening

blunt, devious spheres

that are all I have to remember you by.

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