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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, March 27, 2018.
About this Poem 

"’War Catalogues’ is part of my forthcoming book, Kill Class, which documents my ethnographic fieldwork in mock Middle Eastern villages constructed by the U.S. military across America for pre-deployment cultural trainings. This poem wrestles with imperial theft and impulse to catalogue—not only of tusks and jade and porcelain, but also of human behavior, physiognomy, longing, grief, our outputs, our interiors. It is a record, too, of my feelings of dread and complicity around American Empire.”

—Nomi Stone

War Catalogues

Soldiers collect & number:
pigment, hair, jade,
roasted meat, timber,
cum. The enemy’s
flute; the face

of an enemy
as he holds his young;
the enemy’s face the moment
it’s harmed. The woods

are a class in what
they can take. The country
is fat. We eat
from its side.

Copyright © 2018 by Nomi Stone. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 27, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Nomi Stone. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 27, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Nomi Stone

Nomi Stone

Nomi Stone's second collection of poems, Kill Class, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press in 2019. 

by this poet

poem

The egg is skinned in water, born before
the body. Salt as a nut, bare with blood,
the shallows pink with ache: be arable,
bear me towards the water, let me have
you. I freeze you: cell-throb & wake me
inside the afterlife. On that day, death did
come as a white ram. Egg, we slit

poem

Goats mewling
in the Muslim village.
Leafy footpath
into the bodiless acre
of graves. Pass.

Animals:
goats
chickens (a fury, a pack)
one pig (Salma)

Instructors measure our fervor.
Your machine must cover
the kill zone

poem

Dog knows when friend will come home
because each hour friend’s smell pales,
air paring down the good smell
with its little diamond. It means I miss you
O I miss you, how hard it is to wait
for my happiness, and how good when
it arrives. Here we are in our bodies,
ripe as avocados