Arts of War

by Nina Murray

2012, Washington, D.C., Arts of War IV

On the bus, he is thinking of god.
The seat is hard, it is of a piece with the whole metal shell that vibrates over the Memorial Bridge cobblestone,
left there to slow the traffic.

The bus is going east. It is early, but it is also March, and he can look at the sun through the mass of air, solid and speckled
above the river like a block of ice unpacked from a straw-filled crate: the sun is a large round thing, quite available.

Sun Tzu would say, dig the wells, knock the wheels off your wagons, build a stockade —
in all ways obscure your urge to retreat.

He laughs at the mind’s ability to offer up Sun Tzu when the rest of him has been swept free of thought.
The doors of perception are cleansed
by abject fear and stand wide open. This gaping void he intuits to be a proper place for god,

a trap, in fact. Consider the bait:
he has surrendered his soul, quite freely–
it had become, somehow, less than human, it had been terrorized like an occupied city, and the last
human thing in it was this ability to watch and wonder if this is how it really works.

At the end of the bridge, the bus turns left.
He sees traces of gilding on the feathered hoofs of the winged war horse.