By Christopher Lee Miles

                                                              War, No. 2

                                                              A singing hornet hive.  A contorted
                                                              venetian blind splaying starlight
                                                              onto quilt patches.  A Lieutenant
                                                              of silhouettes.  A herd of bleeding
                                                              dahlias.  A scorpion's tail-tip piercing
                                                              your pant-leg.  A swan-egg dipped
                                                              in slaughter-dew.
                                                                                                  And rocket-rain,
                                                              IED-hail, satellite-guided thunder.
                                                              A limb-snapping sinew-splitting face-
                                                              lacerater.  A death-clot's hot-curdle.
                                                              A heart-gnarling mind-warping soul-
                                                              shears.  An endless & tireless butcher. 


                                                              Sailor, No. 3

                                                              The hoop-shaped sun rises out of the sea:
                                                                  simple facts keep me from madness.
                                                              The destroyer's dimple fails to tattoo
                                                                  any wave shellacking the brass rudder's
                                                              brief drag.  Any wave that would bolt
                                                                  our mechanical brunt to the ocean floor

                                                              sinks beneath a tossing seething whisk.
                                                                  We could cruise through common sense
                                                              into the demon-deepened ditches of hell,
                                                                  and the sea would just churn and churn,
                                                              swallowing up the fo'c'sle and the mast
                                                                  before the sun goes down and we burn.


                                                              Sailor, No. 4

                                                              Where the sea ends a new knowledge begins.
                                                              One asks if it is the shape
                                                              of an evidence bag, or the outline
                                                              of a paw-print.  One wonders
                                                              if a bobcat stalks it right now,
                                                              or an officer cuffs it.

                                                                                                          No, I answer, I who flared
                                                              when a flake of it fell in my eye.

                                                                                                          In a valley
                                                              between two mountains, a snow-scape
                                                              stretches beyond perception.  Boot-prints
                                                              in the crust lead that way.  If you followed
                                                              there would be a body.  It would be frozen.


                                                              BGM-109 Tomahawk

                                                              A trim one thousand pound erection bolted
                                                              in a steel honeycomb.  I spark, rumble-up,
                                                              launch bolts asunder, dazzle into sky-gloam,

                                                              caressing every cloud in my way, glinting 
                                                              in beady light.  Gazing down at matte-black
                                                              sea-glass:  grayer smudges of battle-groups

                                                              collect in the Gulf.  I bore far over, gaining
                                                              the target, a parabola ascending, the flicker
                                                              of melting diamonds falls with flash-beacons

                                                              of mottled ash.  My tail of flame-yarns.  My tip
                                                              descends to land to sand to rooftop to street.
                                                              O how fat fig-trees quiver in my shell-shock.


                                                              War, No. 3

                                                              I fuck everything I can.  I fuck it as hard as I can.
                                                              When I fuck, I am precise, hollowing out grooves
                                                              like a lathe.  And come back and scoop through

                                                              again and again and again.  I fuck you bat-blind
                                                              and crippled.  Syphilis slides from me like chaff
                                                              from wheat, like a spent shell-casing tossed

                                                              in an ammunition hopper.  Being detached from
                                                              the world, tied from a ribbon strung from the roof
                                                              of hell, I recline, think about who I will fuck next.


lgsquidChristopher Lee Miles holds a BFA in creative writing from Bemidji State University and an MFA in poetry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His work appears in the Connecticut Review, Cortland Review, Eclipse, Grain, Salamander, West Branch, and other publications. His first manuscript, Squid Song, was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. A veteran of the US Navy, he was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.