Terry Morrison

Elegy for Uriah, Bathsheba, and David


it is October now in southern Arkansas
it is evening and green dragonflies
point the air like wavering punctuation
sycamores exhale leaves upon the ground
soon our raintree will give out the bright gasp
in winter choirs of tri-cornered leaves


I think of Bathsheba laying aside
the leaves of habit for a king
I think of how the blossom of love
never reads the marks of a season

I think of Uriah the Hittite
husband of Bathsheba
sleeping on the steps of David's house
rather than with Bathsheba
because his comrades were at war
(because it was spring)

at the siege of Rabbah he was killed
there the swift breath of the wall
was an arrow of love
there the flies crept over
the judgments of his body
the covenants of mankind
like periods