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Tuesday, September 19, 2006


by Spiel


how it was back then
his long finger down there
her mouth so wide
frosting all over her nose
his knuckles so buried
with white sugar stuff
his fist almost looks like a giant
double hollyhock

how she can almost hear herself
gag on frosting and joy
and the heat of his finger
every time she polishes its glass
then wishes she’d sprung for a nicer frame


how they scream when they wake afraid of
the bad guys where he is now
how they stick to her ankles
how they cling to her breasts
how they are sticky with kool-aid and mud
they are so cute they want to know who is he
why does he not come back home for them
why is his finger stuck
down her throat with that white stuff laughing

how she hears only herself
as she weeps in their bedroom mirror
for the taste
of his long sugar finger


how he comes back
how they all come back in battalions
how they don’t know their homes
they look at their pictures but
they don’t know who that is
how they glance over their shoulders
how they wear shields on their backs
how they don’t trust their fingers

how they know their triggerbrain
will snap at so little
as the glimpse
of a frosted donut cast down on a curb


how just the two of them are so anxious
how they say this: how they have waited so long
for this moment for this joy of life opportunity
how no one can possibly know how
they have waited to be alone
for this touch
how she has fixed her hair new short blonde
perfumed and cleansed herself

drawn his clumsy trigger finger
down there but
it is frigid and


how they have agreed to meet
at a safe public place with security guards
like this wal-mart lunch room
where they will talk about it

how she brings the kiddies
for hotdogs and cokes but
the kiddies stick to him
like frosting on a cake
how they want him
to sleep with them in their bedrooms
to keep them safe
from the bad guys where he used to be

how he does not know them he does not know
her they have nothing to say
how his fingers have become so thick and so coarse
as they approach her throat

(how it is that they never trained him to be a lover
how it is that they never trained him to be a daddy)
how it is that what they trained him to do
best is what he knows best

how the security guards will see to it
that the children are taken away to be cared for

Spiel was 6 months old when the dark years of WWII were unleashed. He was 50 and in psychotherapy when it dawned on him the fear present in his parent’s bodies at that time of unprecedented upheaval surely must have had a profound and lasting affect on him. He is now 65 and frequently writes poems about war. "returnee: five fingers" is one of several "returnee" pieces which are about soldiers suffering with post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). It will be included in the fall release of his new chapbook they put it in the water published by Four Sep Publications.