“Sestina on a Glove”

Volume 8 | Spring 2018

by Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

for Page R. Dye, who lost his glove as a private in Belgium just after
the Battle of the Bulge and got it back 53 years later

There’s no one left now who can tell the story.
The foxholes strewn through woods are toothless mouths.
In Belgium’s fields no cries of glory echo.
No tales of heroes spring from bloody hooves
Where nights he dreamed of terrifying horses.
He left. And left behind a single glove.

For fifty years he didn’t wear that glove.
He never told another soul the story.
A farmer now, he boarded docile horses,
Telling the age of horses by their mouths.
Through sleep where horses drift with drowsing hooves,
His dreams now whinnied with a gentle echo.

Young boys who go to war resist the echo
Of combat started with a thrown-down glove.
But Belgian winds roared in like crushing hooves.
Virginia’s fields can tell another story.
He holds up sugar now for nuzzling mouths.
He never would neigh-say his peaceful horses.

In foxholes then by day there were no horses.
And yet he dreamed for years of one pale echo.
No way to stop the groundswell’s thirsty mouths.
He hunted land mines, marking on his glove
His name and number. Lost, this legend’s story,
His gauntlet trampled down by human hooves.

The man who found it never dreaded hooves
Or dreamed of white, red, black, pale phantom horses.
He phoned instead to tell an ancient story,
His intonations like a distant echo
Chiming I have a thing of yours, your glove.
At each end men held on with trembling mouths.

The graves there used to gape like toothless mouths,
But now shod horses pass with careful hooves.
The ends his fingers sought without a glove!
The finder never foundered under horses
Whose snorting clatter makes a nightly echo.
He made the call to tell his simple story.

A hand in glove, or out, can stroke still horses
Where flying hooves no longer faintly echo
Now other mouths are trumpets for the story.