Time hides all its words beyond our voices.
My neighbor swears almost every sunrise
ricochets Mosul through his body. He can’t
say where the fighting ended, or if it ended.
He can’t say why the sniper’s ghost laughs
into his dreams. Victory rattles the screen door,
and losses smear starlight across window frost.
This is what I pretend he’d say if he were a poet,
or a young songwriter traipsing around the backyard
hunting for his words along the chain-link fence.
His guitar would sound like a cold jaybird screeching
at a cat. All his words would burn away like river fog
mid-morning. He’d be telling his family somewhere
the sniper had come back to life to focus the gun-scope.