To the Valley in the Morning with Blood and Guts and Fear

Jose Padua

A single summer’s sparrow on the asphalt is not
the bird one usually associates with the country
life. It’s not the life I am living. The bird is a
scavenger; the asphalt is hot to the touch and bends
to one’s softest step. Dirt roads that wind around
mountains are slow, sweat under sunlight labor;
No Trespassing signs nailed to trees announce fortress,
prison, castles built from two by fours and bad liquor.
When there’s war all the time, there’s no such thing as
after the war anymore, no victory over our enemies day,
no victory worth selling tickets for day, just
days to celebrate that we’re still the killers and not
the killed. We’re at large, driving the highways, falling
upon ourselves like dim light until we become dark rain.

Jose Padua is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus and a featured poet at this year’s Split This Rock festival. He and his wife, the poet Heather Davis, write the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.