How He Loved Them
Kevin Prufer’s How He Loved Them sets love in a fraught, paradoxical world where bombs explode, fields burn, and armies advance. With clear, compassionate eyes, Prufer finds powerful intimacy between fathers and sons, soldiers and civilians, the living and the (sometimes un)dead.
“Love Poem” from How He Loved Them:
how the smokestacks choke the sky with love,
how they wrap their arms around me, oh, America, I love
your lines of trucks—they beat the pavement like hearts full of love
where we hold hands like lovers and stroll among airplanes,
where we linger by hangars, our bodies smoked with love,
then I love you as the bomb loves its timer, as the helmet loves the head,
so when it finally snows, you’re the obliterating shrapnel that I love,
you’re the falling burning leaves, the great flag on fire, shower of sparks,
you’re the green mist the planes emit over the sleeping city
one night not long from now just before dawn—a thin green ice
encasing the buildings, and, America, I’m half drunk and improvising,
I’ve walked your frozen highways in snowfall, in ashfall,
I’ve got you inside me, I’m breathing your tinted air.