Shining Rock Poetry Anthology

Hand Grenade Bag by Henri Cole


This well-used little bag is just the right size

to carry a copy of the Psalms. Its plain-woven

flowers and helicopter share the sky with bombs

falling like turnips--he who makes light of other

men will be killed by a turnip. A bachelor,

I wear it across my shoulder--it's easier to be

a bachelor all my life than a widow for a day.

On the bag's face, two black shapes appear

to be crows--be guided by the crow and you

will come to a body--though they are

military aircraft. A man who needs fire

will soon enough hold it in his hands.

"Hand Grenade Bag" from NOTHING TO DECLARE by Henri Cole. Copyright (c) 2015 by Henri Cole. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.
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