Daniel Tompkins



What does it mean to be found?
I wouldn’t know and I
have come close only once:
on a bald and squat mountain
bits of hot lead kissing
the dust into little
flowers between my feet.
I donned my helmet and fled
and hid on the mountainside
the bullets making their lazy
arc overhead a supposed
enemy probing and bracketing
us with mortars so we shared
the last bottle of water
and took an Advil each
to quell the pounding between
our ears and waited. I’d heard
concussive forces can leave
a man stripped naked
on the battlefield tearing
every stitch from his body
but the Apaches arrived
before the mortars could fix
our position and saved us
and we went our separate ways.
Loosed from the mountain I wandered
saved and unfound and I tripped
on acid, stumbled through one-liners
in dark rooms, crashed
my car into a highway barrier,
even tried boring old love—but
it was just vodka too much
of it that allowed me to admit
slurring to the friend dragging
my body uptown that ever
since I’ve been looking
for something to hit me dead center
and mix me with the dirt
into a rust-hued bloom
so being found that way
I could finally be taken home.

DANIEL TOMPKINS is a poet and fiction writer from Fredericksburg, VA. His poetry has been featured in Rattle and the Visible Poetry Project. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his dog, Chewie.