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,

they bedraggle,