In Our Late Empire, Love

Malachi Black on

Published in Poem Of The Day

drops from upper air,
like rain,
clinging brightly
to the fresh-cut hair
of children
and the infantry:
all hail
the clicking heel, all will
the shrinking light
with grains
of wedding rice, of salt,
of sands as fit
a last brassy parade:
the marching band
will soften
with its growing-distant
the oscillating hand
will stop
its waving
soon enough, soon
here now, the motorcade
gaily through the citizens'
and the children's eyes
bronze faintly
with the glint
of far-off fireworks,
or firebombs,
or falling evening stars.

About this poem
"'In Our Late Empire, Love' emerged from a curious sense of living in the political equivalent of [John] Keats' 'posthumous existence'-a post-apex, late-imperial America-and I became interested in the idea of a domestic analogue to the 'letter from the field.' Recent events at home and abroad were of influence as well."
-Malachi Black

About Malachi Black
Malachi Black is the author "Storm Toward Morning" (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). He teaches at the University of San Diego and lives in California.

The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.

(c) 2014 Malachi Black. Originally published by the Academy of American Poets, www.poets.org. Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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