Desert Salt
NIKK WASSERMAN

Dear Friend, we have been 
tracing the outer circles

of each other awhile. Before
I found you steep yourself in salt

in the ocean next to your home, before
I saw your knees as broken ladders.

I guess the military owns a profit
on poetry too, but I remember the summer

you came back from West Point
and told your first rape joke

imagine: a baby book
private’s first dehumanization

I see the fourth grade boy with a soft face
and then there’s you, in training

hair buzzed short, life suspended seven
years—I know what my father did,

a military man and how he came back with nothing 
but pride for country

nothing left.
Are you still in there?

Can you still feel your skin and bones
cup an AK-47 as a cradle, the rattle

and the starry revolver above

cups an AK-47 as the rattle, a cradle:
Can you still feel your skin and bones—

are you still in there?
nothing left

but pride for country
—a military man. How he came back with nothing.

I know my father did
hair buzzed short, life suspended twenty-seven

years and then you, in training
fourth grade boy with soft face

private’s first dehumanization
imagine: a baby book

you told your first rape joke
and came back from west point

on poetry too, I remember the summer
the military owns a profit of,

your knees as broken ladders
in the ocean next to your home, before

I find you steeped in the salt
of another for a while, before

tracing the outer circles
we had been. Dear—









NIKK WASSERMAN is a professional multitasker: 22-year-old, Brandeis student, gluten-free/ vegan baker, peer counselor, waitress, peer educator, activist, and over-committed to just about all of it. They are a recent winner of the Ramon Feliciano Poetry Prize.
The Adirondack Review
FALL 2014