Declaratives for Tim Mannle’s Photograph, “Waiting for Wingaersheek”
A week after the carnage,
still, the gnarly élan of a battlefield.
All casualties have cleared,
but shadows in grass and clouds
maneuver with a commemorative temperance.
Their textures loot a teetotaler’s attention
to particulars and manage
a practicality that indexes panic.
Indexes and medicates it
into pure shadow.
The foreground is lit
by fossil phosphorescence
of an anti-aircraft spotlight,
trained low on the ground,
the way the lighthouse used to swerve
and menace its way through the grass blades
where we were American POWs
escaping a German camp. The light
rises dryer and more severe, scorching the grass,
more flash than swung beam.
It glistens and upbraids (remember
the barefoot stab of stepping on an old stalk
of that grass?). The clouds fatten,