Poetry at Sangam



American Internal by Brian Turner

Down in the hole, down in the clay and mud,
we dig. The noon sun hot on our backs
as we bend to the task, as if digging
down into our own shadows
with the stained shovels of our hands,
digging until someone gasps—another,
they have discovered another; with pale eyes
the dead faces rooted with worms and stone,
brassy shells of bullets in their mouths,
hands reaching for what no one can see above,
as if urgent to embrace us. We raise each
carefully from the earth, the bodies of men
dressed in sandals and thawbs,
wet robes of cotton dyed by clay,
and the women, like the one I lift now,
how her hair unravels in a sheen
of copper, cold as water in my palms.