Notes fired crack against our ears,
fill the air like smoke after gunshot
blooming over a field.
He leads our collective stumbling
with his solo, shuffles us into respect
at the ricochet of his tune.
The young bugler lowers his instrument,
approaching the climax of his task.
We are silent already needing this axis
this poppy-black pistil to focus our woes.
In our separate myths of war assembled
we feel something like peace rise to heat,
breathe as he breathes and cold brass gleams
silver in November air. Against the warmth
of each jacketed heart, an explosion
of red reports how a bullet
will spread blood across the chest
in a tiny flowering of hurt.
We hear him collect his tone with his tongue.
Lips purse against the promise
of notes then plucked air trembles out
gold, rings like glass and blood flows back
into the rip between us and the button-worsted drab
lying across the breasts of the dead.