For Jose Flores

All this whole year of deaths
the fall off the cliff
to be swept off the edge
into the sea,
the litany of the departed
the men known so long, so long
as if we’d gotten caught
in the draft together
survived the forts, the training camps,
and shipped overseas
to live through garrison and field
and worked the same assembly lines
and endured somehow the same systems
shuttling you here sand there
only to find Mom died so inevitable
and your buddies, your co-workers
comrades and sisters
where have they gone now
and now all crystallized
one frozen morning
one frozen form
eyes and mouth open
dead on the Common.


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.