Written 28 August 2003, a week after Kylan Jones-Huffman was shot to death while serving in Iraq. Not previously published.
a sand dune begins to build
around his bootprint
—Michael Dylan Welch, in memory of Navy Lt. Kylan Jones-Huffman
ō: “Is there any good in saying everything?” Unfortunately, he has left this world not saying nearly as much as we would have wanted.
Kylan’s senseless murder has made the war in Iraq personal and starkly real to me, and has also prompted me to revisit his poems. Rereading his haiku in the context of his death emphasized the lesson, for me, of the value of biography in appreciating poetry. Knowing more of his story gives his poems an added depth and authenticity. The poet’s name underneath a haiku surely acts as its “fourth line” by providing added context to many readers. But now he is gone, and I regret that I will not have the privilege of corresponding with and meeting Kylan, and will know him only by his poems. I am thus reminded of Paul O. Williams’ classic haiku, written for the late Nick Virgilio. I think of Kylan as I read it again:
gone from the woods
the bird I knew
by song alone
For more information about Kylan Jones-Huffman, who was shot on 21 August 2003 in Hillah, Iraq, please visit the following links:
body armor shifting
on the car seat
—17 November 2009